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U.S. Marine Corps - Small Wars Manual (1940 Edition)




Relation to civil power			12-27
Relation to U]lited States forces	12-28

12-27. Relation to civil power.-a. The constabulary represents the power of the executive branch of the government and its territorial subdivisions. Unlawful acts committed by members of the constabulary are usually found to be in contravention of the regulations of the constabulary or the civil or criminal laws of the country. In the former class are military misdemeanors and crimes that are within the jurisdiction of the military power; that is, the constabulary courts-martial system. In the latter class are those crimes and felonies that are set forth in the penal code of the country. Generally, any infraction of constabulary regulations by a member of the constabulary should be tried by the constabulary itself, either by the member's immediate commanding officer or by court martial. Likewise, members of the constabulary charged with conspiracy against the local government should be tried by court martial and the punishment executed by the constabulary after confirmation of the sentence by the Chief Executive. Alleged civil offenses are first investigated by the constabulary. If an offense is found to be efficiently proved by evidence as to its commission, the member should be discharged from the constabulary and delivered into the custody of the civil authorities for trial and punishment as a civilian. If, however, after investigation of the offense by the constabulary, the evidence indicates that the member is guiltless, he should under no circumstances be delivered to the civil authorities for trial and punishment until such authorization has been secured from the commanding officer of the constabulary.

b. It is to be expected that some animosity and jealousy will be prevalent during the establishment of the constabulary by officers of the United States forces. Attempts may be made to interfere with or embarrass the constabulary in its operations indirectly by civil-court actions and by noncooperation on the part of minor officials. Complaints against members of the constabulary should be thoroughly investigated. When warranted, a just trial should be immediately conducted, with prompt punishment of guilty individuals, thus indicating to the populace that the constabulary enforces the law among its own members and that they receive no preferential treatment not granted civil violators of the law. The chief of the constabulary is responsible directly to the Chief Executive of the country, who is the commander in chief of all the armed forces of the country.

C. In their contacts with civil officials, members of the constabulary must be courteous, firm in the execution of their duties, and just in dealing with any and all classes of inhabitants, regardless of rank, title, creed, or social position. Tact is one of the most necessary attributes which may be possessed by members of the constabulary. Fair and just operation of the constabulary must always be tempered with tact. Brutality in making investigations and arrests should be firmly and promptly suppressed. The inhabitants should be encouraged to regard the constabulary as an honest, impartial, and just law enforcement agency, friendly toward the law-abiding population. In times of emergency during fires, floods, and earthquakes, the constabulary should be quick to render aid to the distressed.

12-28. Relation to United States forces.-a. The line of demarcation between the execution of the military power of the United States forces and the constabulary should be definite. When it has attained full strength, the constabulary should have sole responsibility for the preservation of law and order. Since the United States forces have set up this military instrumentality for the local state and endowed it with a certain strength, the constabulary should have unhampered opportunity in its conduct of operations as the armed force of the country. Interference by United States forces not only seriously decreases the prestige of the constabulary, but also denies to the local state the ability to utilize freely the force that has been created to increase its power and prestige. The constabulary assumes its functions gradually, as it recruits to full strength, and takes over the police functions of the country under the guidance and observation of the United States forces. When the constabulary has demonstrated its competence to perform its duties, the United States forces relinquish control and command, and are withdrawn and concentrated at central points where they are available to be employed as reinforcements in case of unexpected emergencies. During the organization of the constabulary, the assignment of detachments of the constabulary to operate with elements of United States forces in joint action against hostile forces may be advisable. In this manner, the constabulary, as well as the native population, will feel that the local situation is being handled by their own governmental agency and not by a foreign power. Unlawful acts committed by members of the constabulary or by civilians against the United States forces are legally under the jurisdiction of the United States forces and may be punishable by an exceptional military court martial. Whenever possible, every effort is made to have the offenders tried by the constabulary courts-martial system or by the local civil judicial agency in order that such unlawful acts may be punished by agencies of the country and not by agencies of the United States forces.

b. When joint operations are conducted by United States forces and the constabulary, the principle of seniority according to rank of members of United States forces present should be retained. Thus, if the senior constabulary officer present, who is also an officer of the United States forces, is senior to the officer in command of the United Sates forces present, the senior constabulary officer assumes command of the joint forces. When the officer in command of the United States forces present is senior, he assumes command of both organizations.

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