Malmstrom Airman helps teach Afghan police forces tactics, training

  • Published
  • By Capt. Nora Eyle
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

(Editors note: Staff Sergeant Daniel Smith, currently serving as the Police Technical Advisory Team NCO in charge at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan, is a deployed member of Team Malmstrom from the 341st Missile Security Forces Squadron.)

Members of the Police Technical Advisory Team here have trained more than 200 Afghan national police and Afghan national auxiliary police since April to help improve the security of Afghanistan.

Team members train 10 to 20 Afghan national police and Afghan national auxiliary police every week and teach police tactics including community policing, use of force, hand to hand combat, searching and handcuffing, ethics, riot control, rifle fighting, and offensive and defensive tactics.

"Training of the ANP and ANAP are critical to the long-term stability of Afghanistan," said Lt. Col. Robert Ricci, the Mehtar Lam Provincial Reconstruction Team commander. "Nothing happens without security in this nation. The ANP and ANAP are the first line defenders against insurgents and general crimes to the public."

"This PTAT program will have touched virtually every ANAP and ANP in the Laghman province by the end of our tour," said Staff Sgt. Daniel Smith, the Police Technical Advisory Team NCO in charge. He has been stationed with the Mehtar Lam Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan for almost four months.

The training of the ANP and ANAP in Laghman Province actually happens in several stages. First, individuals are trained at the Regional Training Center in Jalalabad for basic police duty. Then they are trained for one week by PTAT members Tech. Sgt. Drayton Denson, Sergeant Smith and Senior Airman Zackary Osborne on tactical-level tasks and capabilities. Lastly, the individuals are placed back in their district units where the military police platoon assigned to Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam can work with the policemen in the field to put into practice what the PTAT spent time teaching.

"The PTAT program is really important, because it is a tool that refines and reshapes these people's way of thinking, and makes the ANP and ANAP better police officers," said Airman Osborne, a security forces police tactics and training mentor. "They show a real understanding for all the subjects, but the ones that stand out the most are ethics, and use of force. They all want to become better at their job."

But the ANA and ANAP members are not the only ones who are learning. The instructors are also getting educated by their students.

"I am learning phrases, some Dari, but more Pashto than anything," Sergeant Smith said. "The majority of the students speak several different languages form Dari, Pashto, Pashai and Urdu. So I try and pick up on the different dialects. I know my interpreter wishes I knew a lot of Dari, because he has to answer or ask questions in two different languages a lot of the time."

"Every day I see the ANP and ANAP getting better," Colonel Ricci said. "Much as we seem to forget, policemen in the United States are often forgotten until they're needed. Well, they're needed here. The ANP and ANAP are going to help the long-term stability of this region."

The instructors know they are making a difference with their program.

"It is always a good feeling when people come back to the (forward operating base) and say the ANP are doing a great job out there and they are showcasing their newly learned skills and are saying that they learned it from the PTAT teachers," Sergeant Smith said. "Some of the students even mention Sergeant. Denson, Airman Osborne and myself by name. I am always glad to be able to help where I can. Especially knowing that the teaching it is leading to the Afghans securing their own land."

"There is enough reward knowing that the individuals you teach walk out that day knowing that they have learned something new or learned more about something that they already knew," Sergeant Smith said. "It is a great feeling to know that the subjects you teach to these people could be the very item that helps them save a life."