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Old January 28, 2012, 09:19 PM   #76
Senior Member
Join Date: September 15, 2004
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 644
Law enforcement on military installations

Many people have the misconception that the UCMJ is the ONLY enforcement mechanism available to deal with violations on military property, and this is incorrect.

On a military base, if you are a military member you are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). If you were charged with a violation of the UCMJ you'd be dealt with by your chain of command.

If you are a dependent, civilian employee, or visitor you are subject to federal law OR state law adopted by that installation under the assimilative crimes act. Under most circumstances (traffic violation, disorderly conduct, etc.) you'd be issued a DD Form 1805 citation and you would then appear in Federal Magistrate's court.

The Assimilative Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. § 13, makes state law applicable to conduct occurring on lands reserved or acquired by the Federal government as provided in 18 U.S.C. § 7(3), when the act or omission is not made punishable by an enactment of Congress.

Prosecutions instituted under this statute are not to enforce the laws of the state, but to enforce Federal law, the details of which, instead of being recited, are adopted by reference. In addition to minor violations, the statute has been invoked to cover a number of serious criminal offenses defined by state law such as burglary and embezzlement. However, the Assimilative Crimes Act cannot be used to override other Federal policies as expressed by acts of Congress or by valid administrative orders.

Installation commanders can create and enforce their own rules.

The Assimilative Crimes Act allows the Federal Government to adopt certain state laws by reference.

(For example: I don't know how it works in other states, but I work part time for a couple of little towns and in their municipal code they have just adopted by reference the state traffic and criminal code for civil violations. Such violations are then dealt with in municipal court. The wording on the citation might be "Ord 3.01 adopting ss. 947.01 Disorderly Conduct" (Civil violations or civil forfeitures are violations for which the penalty is a fine. If part of the potential penalty could be time in jail, that would be a misdemeanor handled in county circuit court, and if part of the potential penalty is time in prison, that's a felony, also handled by the circuit court. Different states have different terminology and procedures)

A violation of a base regulation involving a non-military person would be dealt with in Federal Magistrate's Court, and could result in a fine and being barred from the base.

A current active MP or SP or DoD police officer could probably explain it better as far as how the procedure works. (I was an SP and an MP in the National Guard and I'm a "civilian" cop now, but I've been retired from the military since 2000 so my ability to explain some of this stuff is rusty)
You can only learn from experience if you pay attention!

Last edited by Jeff22; January 28, 2012 at 10:16 PM.
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