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One Team One Fight

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Camilla Griffin
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The Department of the Air Force Police Program has been picked up by the Desert Lightning Team. The program has been around for four years and came here August 2012.

The purpose of DAF policemen is to support the mission during security forces deployments. DAF policemen started training in November 2012 and hit the ground running at D-M the first week of March.

D-M has more than 60 slots for DAF police officers, with about a dozen positions filled thus far. Officer Terry Rutan, DAF policeman superintendent with the 355th Security Forces Squadron, said 95 percent of the civilian police officers have a military background.

"The DAF policemen go through 160 hours of training prior to ever going on the road, and that is including those with prior experience," said Rutan. "The training must be completed before the officers can be qualified for the job."

If the officers have had prior law enforcement experience in the last five years, they can receive a waiver to go to the Veteran Affairs law enforcement academy and go straight to on-the-job training said Officer John Badey, DAF policeman shift supervisor with the 355th Security Forces Squadron.

Badey was a flight chief with the 355th SFS back in 2011 when he retired after 22 years of service and is now back as a DAF police officer.

The DAF cops go through the same training as security forces members; ancillary training, computer based training; they also keep a log of their training in Air Force Training Record.

"The only difference for us is that we are civil service employees, and they are enlisted. Our uniforms are different; that's it," Badey said. "Everything else is the same training, hours and standards."

Ancillary training is defined as training outside an Airman's specialty or primary duties, but necessary to ensure mission success. Requirements for ancillary training come when the Air Force, the Department of Defense, other federal agencies or even lawmakers decide that military members must be informed or trained on certain subjects on a reoccurring basis.

"The guys that don't have experience will go to a five week academy in Arkansas," said Rutan. Until completion of the course, they are considered augmenters.

"People will see us start to work the gate, as well as patrol, and we will be seen working side by side with security forces." Badey said. "Everything they do we will be doing as well. We want to get the image out there that we are not just gate guards when it comes to our responsibility level."

The DAF officers are held to the same standard as a security forces officer, and they follow the same Air Force Instruction 36-2903.

Since the DAF officers have been working in the field, people have been confused as to who they are.

"People do a double-take when they see us, because not everyone has seen Air Force police officers before." Badey said. "People get confused, asking if we are Tucson Police Department or if we are just the new gate guards. Some people have seen us at other bases, but not everyone understands."

"They will see us roll up side by side to a domestic call in housing, alarm activations or issues at the dorms," Badey said. "We are doing full integration with security forces, so people see we are one in the same. We do the same job."

"We are offered all the same training that security forces is offered," said Officer John DelPino, DAF policeman shift supervisor with the 355th SFS. "Officer Badey went to Lackland AFB, Texas for traffic investigator training, and I went to the TPD SWAT School."

Badey says he sees a lot more respect from the base population towards the civilian officers, and he believes that is going to help the unit as a whole, since they are integrated. He also feels that it might be easier to calm things down in situations with a civilian cop.

"We are held to the same standards, (AFI 36-2903) Dress and Appearance. We have our own AFI as far as regulations, but it all falls in line with Air Force regulations. That way we are on the same level, and the integration should be smooth," Badey said. "It is one team one fight."