Kentucky Guard Soldiers support Louisville Metro Police at Oaks

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Story and photos by:  Staff Sgt. Fredrick P. Varney, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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Kentucky Army National Guard Spc. Kyle P. Alexander, 223rd Military Police Company based in Louisville, provides security during the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs May 6. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Fredrick P. Varney, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 6, 2011) – For most people the month of May typically serves as a friendly reminder that summer is just around the corner.  On the other hand, for Kentuckians it means unleashing some “Unbridled Spirit” within the Commonwealth.

Every year during the first week of May thousands of people flock to Churchill Downs in Louisville to watch some of the greatest horse racing on the planet.

So much time and effort goes into making the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby a success. Because security is the number one priority, multiple agencies must work closely together to accomplish one common goal.

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Staff Sgt. Jacque S. Hayes, military police instructor, 238th Regiment, directs traffic using proper hand and arm signals May 6 during the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Spc. Alexa E. Becerra, Headquarters Company 138th Fires Brigade )

This year Kentucky National Guard Soldiers from the 75th Troop Command and 198th Military Police Battalion worked alongside the Louisville Metro Police Department by providing security and directing traffic outside the confines of Churchill Downs.

The 75th Troop Command was called upon to provide security inside the winner’s circle while the 198th Military Police Battalion directed traffic control.

“Our unit is here to augment the Louisville Metro Police Department by providing personnel to work traffic posts around Churchill Downs, while also serving as additional security forces on the ground to make this a safe environment for the citizens of the Commonwealth,” said Capt. Gregory W. Jefferson, Training Officer, 198th Military Police Battalion.

Due to the high volume of spectators, the Kentucky Oaks can cause both logistical and security nightmares for law enforcement officials.

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Kentucky Army National Guard Pvt. Justin A. Downey, 223rd Military Police Company based in Louisville, directs traffic May 6. during the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Spc. Alexa E. Becerra, Headquarters Company 138th Fires Brigade)

“Our Soldiers are happy to assist the city of Louisville,” said Sgt. Jeremy S. Adams, Team Leader, 1103rd Military Police Detachment based in Harrodsburg, Ky.  “The Louisville Metro Police Department does an excellent job of keeping our streets safe, so this is our way of returning the favor.”

Staff Sgt. Jacque S. Hayes, military police instructor for the 238th Regiment, said the Kentucky Guard continues to shine by lending a helping hand within our local communities.

“Being visible allows our citizens to know we are strong and fully committed to our profession,” said Hayes.  “I am proud to be a member of the Kentucky National Guard and this event provides us with an opportunity to show the public just how special our organization truly is.”

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