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thedrifter
09-28-08, 07:26 AM
CSI Iraq: Military collects evidence

Servicemen learn how to bag and tag clues and take fingerprints

By Gregg K. Kakesako

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Sep 28, 2008
Iraq-bound Schofield Barracks soldiers and Kaneohe Marines were part of a new effort to learn how to collect and preserve evidence taken from insurgents in the field.

U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo said his office took the point in teaching soldiers of the 25th Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team and Kaneohe Bay's 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.

"A lot goes on between the apprehension of an Iraqi sniper and Iraqi courts," Kubo said.

The object of the six-hour course, attended by 85 Schofield Barracks soldiers in July 2007 and 45 Marines in January 2008, was to help these soldiers and Marines identify what is important and preserve them for the Iraqi courts now that they are up and running.

Army Maj. Shane Lee said the training will be "extremely valuable" for the soldiers who will be heading to Iraq.

Another Army officer, Maj. Tony Migos in 2006 was the operations chief for the 25th Infantry Division and was tasked to help develop training plan to insure that soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment had adequate training on preserving a crime scene and handling evidence that was found during search.

Migos' 3rd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq in August 2006 and returned home from Kirkuk 15 months later. It is scheduled to return to Iraq next month.

Migos said the goal was to teach 3rd Brigade soldiers "to take the evidence and tag, bag, fingerprints, and ensure that the evidence was not tampered with."

He said that about 100 soldiers spent a day at the Honolulu Police Department Academy working both FBI and local law enforcement specialists.

"During our deployment it is fair for me to say that the training the soldiers received from the police academy was very instrumental for our success and paid big dividends in ensuring that each detainee that was captured we had the right documentation and evidence to prosecute, Migos said.

He added that "just a little time and effort working closely with our civilian counterparts can play a big difference from capturing a bad guy and ensuring he does not get out back on the streets killing innocent civilians and coalition soldiers. The help we received form HPD and FBI was awesome."

The soldiers and Marines were taught how to photograph a crime scene, prepare crime scene diagrams and proper chain of custody and documentation procedures. They also were taught interviewing techniques and how to conduct post-blast investigations.

"The impetus for program was because there were too many people being released by the Iraqi government because of the lack of evidence," Kubo said.

Kubo, who is a senior member of the U.S. Department of Justice's military issues and affairs subcommittee, said the U.S. Attorney's Office here has:

developed Hawaii's Law Enforcement Information Exchange System with the Navy, an integrated database that allows agencies to share law enforcement information, especially in the area of terrorism and organized crime.

founded the Wounded Warrior Community Support Program that helps Hawaii's injured service members while they are recovering from their wounds.

created an Identity Theft Initiative, which protects military members and their families who have become victims of identify theft.

has partnered with the Department of Defense's Employer Support for the Guard and Reserves, working to ensure that employment rights of Hawaii's citizen soldiers are protected, especially upon activation and deployment.

created and run the Crimes on Government Reservation Task Force, which includes all military investigating agency heads, the Honolulu Police Department and the FBI. The task force shares information on crimes on military installations and works on ways federal prosecutors can assist military investigators.

Ellie