Task Force 455 trains Afghan National Police
by Staff Sgt. David Dobrydney, DVIDS Hub
Staff Sgt. David Dobrydney
Members of the Afghan National Police observe Jeremy Nelson, a contracted law enforcement professional from the Engility Corporation, describe signs of a hidden explosive device during a training session on Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, May 16, 2013. The course focused on counterimprovised explosive device awareness and how to gather evidence from an IED site. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. David Dobrydney)
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - Task Force 455 (455th Air Expeditionary Wing) recently held their third training session on counterimprovised explosive device awareness here with members of the Afghan National Police.
The course also included instruction on fingerprinting and forensics to gather clues about people who plant IEDs.
Task Force 455 is comprised of two security forces squadrons responsible for a 200-mile Base Security Zone and the protection of more than 42,000 personnel.
"We are incorporating a bit more law enforcement into the procedures," said Master Sgt. Wichard Ho, Task Force 455 noncommissioned officer in charge of future operations, deployed from Vogelweh Military Complex, Germany.
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"The goal is not just to stop the insurgents but to capture them and find out who's making these devices," the Honolulu, Hawaii, native added.
The forensics lessons were given by contractors who have extensive backgrounds in civilian law enforcement.
"Evidence is very crucial in prosecution of crimes that happen in this country," said Vic Tran, an instructor with the Engility Corporation, who has 17 years of police experience.
Tran said that the students were keen to learn in spite of a language barrier that necessitates the use of translators.
"The skills that we teach are hands-on, they see the technique and it's very easy to learn," Tran said. "It's not understanding the words, it's actually understanding the method."
After classroom instruction on how to collect fingerprints and DNA samples from debris left behind by potential bomb setters, the class moved outside where Tran and Jeremy Nelson demonstrated how to discern clues on the ground that indicate a hidden bomb.
The training held on the base is just one of many such courses held by Task Force 455 across its area of responsibility. Ho said the training helps to build connections between the Afghan and coalition forces that pay off when a bomb is found and cooperation is needed.
"They are out there more than we are," Ho said. "Giving them the tools to find these items ... helps us out in the long run."
The most senior student was Ghulam Harzat Ezmarai, chief of police for Bagram district. He said he will be eager to share the information he's learned here with his patrolmen.
"The things I learned in the three-day class [were] very important and I'm going to definitely inform our troops to learn them and do some more training among them to protect the people of the district of Bagram."