Army seeks to de-escalate disputes

| February 14, 2014 | 0 Comments


Col. Mark Jackson
Director, Emergency Services,
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, and
Commander, 8th Military Police Brigade,
8th Theater Sustainment Command

In any relationship, whether it is amongst friends, spouses or family, disagreements can and will occur.

In some instances, these disagreements can escalate to the point of causing a disturbance in the local community. Worse situations result in physical violence between the two parties. However, most cases remain verbal disagreements that are de-escalated prior to the Military Police’s arrival.

Concerned neighbors or family members may call the police requesting assistance in calming down a scene and preventing any further escalation. When MPs respond to a scene, certain actions are taken, regardless of whether any violence was involved.

If no assault or crime is committed at a domestic disturbance, neither of the involved parties are charged. However, the chain of command is still notified and called to the scene.

Depending on the circumstances, the MPs or social work services may recommend a 72-hour physical separation period, to be enforced by the chain of command. In most instances, the service member is moved to a room in the barracks, while the family member stays in the on-post residence.

A synopsis of the incident (to include the names of people involved) appears in the daily MP blotter.

Additionally, the MP Station forwards details to other outside agencies tasked with helping the family prevent such instances in the future. Notifications are made to social work services, the family/victim advocate program and/or the Army Substance Abuse Program (if alcohol was involved). Ultimately, these organizations and the chain of command are best able to assist these families in overcoming their issues and improving relationships.

As there was no crime committed, the goal is not to punish individuals, but rather to direct them towards the help they need in order to prevent an escalation that may later result in a criminal act.

The following are excerpts of actual MP blotter entries from U. S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. Subjects are innocent until proven guilty.

Report of Incident: Domestic Disturbance Without Assault

•Jan. 11, MPs responded to an ongoing domestic disturbance in Housing Area X and found that a service member and her spouse were involved in a verbal dispute over the cleanliness of the kitchen. There was no physical contact during the dispute. The Soldier was released to her unit and the chain of command was advised of the recommended 72-hour separation period.

•Jan. 13, the Schofield Barracks Police Station responded to a domestic disturbance that occurred in Housing Area Y. A service member and his spouse were drinking in their home when the two began arguing over Facebook messages concerning the spouse’s whereabouts over the weekend.
The Soldier accused the wife of hitting him in the back several times with a closed fist, and the wife accused the Soldier of shoving her against the front door. MPs were unable to find evidence substantiating either report.
The couple was administered portable breath tests, which resulted in a 0.052 and 0.031 BRAC, respectively. The Soldier was released to his unit representative, and his chain of command was advised of the recommended 72-hour separation period.

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Category: News, Police Call, Standing Columns

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