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Joint training builds partnerships, enhances communication

At the training staging area on Fort George G. Meade, Md., Oct. 26, 2021, Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Jennifer Dowler, center, instructs fellow agents and interns on how to properly photograph a crime scene when first approaching the scene. (Photo by Ronna Weyland, CID)

At the training staging area on Fort George G. Meade, Md., Oct. 26, 2021, Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Jennifer Dowler, center, instructs fellow agents and interns on how to properly photograph a crime scene when first approaching the scene. (Photo by Ronna Weyland, CID)

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. --

Special agents from Washington Criminal Investigation Division Battalion participated in a joint training exercise with Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Directorate of Emergency Services here Oct. 26.

The training exercise consisted of a staged double homicide scenario on the Army installation, which included both a stabbing and shooting. Fort Meade is home to several joint commands representing all the military services.

According to Forensic Science Officer Nicole Daniels, Washington CID Bn., Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., the overall intent of the training was to provide OSI, CID, and DES with a training experience in responding to and processing a crime scene jointly.

Daniels said the joint training was effective in “building communication” between military criminal investigative organizations (MCIO) and aided in “knowing how and who to communicate with in a real world situation.”

She added it is important to build a partnership between MCIO’s prior to a real world event taking place in which a joint effort is needed of all the agencies on or near Fort Meade.

“Most of the Army CID agents here are new to this area of operation and this event helped them identify area specific challenges,” said Daniels. “Anytime senior agents get to work and train directly with their junior agents it’s a great opportunity to create a team building environment.”

The scenario consisted of DES receiving a simulated call of a reported death scene being discovered in a vacant building on Fort Meade. This call initiated military police investigators (MPI) to respond to and secure the crime scene and make notifications to both AFOSI and Army CID.

For training purposes, the crime scene was divided into two parts, so each agency could practice their specific policies and procedures in crime scene processing. Both teams responded and processed the scene with the assistance and observation of the MPI’s from Fort Meade.

MPI Andrew Dresbach said it was a great opportunity for him to “relearn being a first responder,” when arriving prior to an emergency medical team. He said it was important to document the scene and ensure the safety and security of the area.

“This was a great opportunity to work with our counterparts and build relationships,” said Resident Agent-in-Charge Michael Stankovich, Fort Meade CID Office. “We want to be a resource that is here and local to support.”

The simulated training also gave Army CID interns Logan Bedell and Joshua Lax their first experience working a crime scene. Both are slated to attend CID Special Agent Course at the U.S. Army Military Police School in February.

“This was my first official crime scene training and it helped me get familiar with the steps needed to properly assess a crime scene,” said Lax. “I didn’t know what to expect or how to do some of the initial steps. It was good to go through the training with a subject matter expert to ask questions and oversee the process along the way.”

Learning how to use the equipment was what Bedell said he appreciated most about the training.

“It was good to get a feel for the type of equipment we use when processing the scene,” he said. “Getting hands-on experience with the camera today and practicing evidence collection was very helpful.”

The AFOSI Forensic Science Consultant and Army CID FSO agents were on site to observe and coach agents as needed throughout the crime scene processing to ensure the individual agency training goals were met.

“Overall, the training helped all agencies involved work on team and relationship building, identifying areas of improvement, and under-utilized skills,” said Daniels.