MP’s doing what they do best

By Sgt. Taylor Tribble, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade

Spc. Bryan Courtney with the 940th Military Police Company directs traffic during Riverfest in Newport, Ky., Sept. 3, 2017. Soldiers with the 940th assisted local law enforcement with traffic and crowd control along with access control points during the annual fireworks event on the banks on the Ohio River. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Taylor Tribble)

Newport, Ky. – Soldiers from the 940th Military Police Company provided security, access control point support and traffic control support for the annual Riverfest festivities Sept. 3.

The Western & Southern / WEBN Fireworks is one of the largest fireworks shows in the Midwest, attracting nearly a half million people to the banks of the Ohio River every year for the last 40 years.

Capt. Jared Stakelin, commander of the Walton, Kentucky-based 940th, said both sides of the Ohio River rely on the Newport Police Department and the Kentucky National Guard to keep the public safe while they enjoy the fireworks, vendors and other entertainment.

“My Soldiers were there to assist the Newport Police Department in protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth and our visitors while at the event,” he said. “We have done this job for years, we’re so familiar with the mission and are happy to assist our local partners.”

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With a small force of just 40 Newport Police officers, the Soldiers of the 940th assisted them in the necessary manpower to ensure safety and security of spectators and helping improve the flow of traffic.

The security detail was tasked with patrolling the vendor area on the levee assisting patrons and notifying Newport PD of any illegal activity. Each team had a small strip of the crowded river bank they were tasked to patrol and interact with the population.

Pfc. Michael Stamper worked on the access control detail. His post was an entry point to Newport on the Levee near the Taylor Southgate Bridge. Stamper said the access control detail had to remain vigilant the whole day of the event.

“We showed up bright and early to set up at the entry points to the levee and control who is allowed in and out,” said Stamper. “We checked bags and made sure no one is bringing in drugs, alcohol or weapons.”

The traffic detail took control at the end of the night to assist the Newport PD in getting everyone and their vehicles out of the event as safely and efficiently as possible. Team Leader, Sgt. Jacob Ernest said the police officers and the Soldiers worked together at all of the major intersections throughout the city to ensure proper traffic flow.

“We are a very good show of force and deterrent of small crime when we work together,” said Ernest. ”

The Newport Police Chief Tom Collins said the event would not have been successful without the 940th’s support.

“I really want to thank the Kentucky National Guard,” said Collins, “and could not be more appreciative of the support they lend for this event.”

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