Military Police Officer: Requirements, Job Description & Salary

Discover what it means to be in the military police and what this career offers. Learn about the expectations of military police, the required training, the work they typically do and how much they are paid. Schools offering Law Enforcement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Military Police: Career Overview

Military police, or MPs, are members of the United States military who enforce the law and military regulations on bases, air fields, and other property belonging to the armed forces. Although they operate under their respective military branches, MPs have many of the same responsibilities as local police, such as guiding traffic, apprehending suspects of crimes, and conducting investigations, in addition to anti-terrorism and security duties. Military police may also become involved in criminal investigations which take place outside the boundaries of a military installation if the crime involved a member of the armed forces or property belonging to the military.

Education Required High school diploma or equivalent
Training Required Military basic training; additional law enforcement and security training varies by branch)
Key Skills Discipline, physical fitness, and communication skills
Median Salary Varies by military branch and rank

How Do I Join the Military Police?

Each branch of the military operates its own security forces, although only the US Army and Marine Corps use the title of military police. The first step is to enlist with your branch of choice, where you will be required to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), a test designed to determine what specialties would best suit an individual's skill set. If the ASVAB results indicate you would be a good candidate for a law enforcement or security role, you will be sent to a security training school after completing basic training. The duration of security training can take as little as nine weeks in the Navy and Air Force or up to twenty weeks in the Army. While most military police are enlisted roles, there is a path for officers to serve in the leadership as well.

What Kind of Commitment Is Required of Military Police?

Military police can serve full time or as part of the reserves, and those in the reserve will usually perform their duties near where they live during the required times of service. Those serving full time can be deployed, like any other service member, and could find themselves assigned to a base in a foreign country or to a ship that's at sea for months at a time. Full-time enlistment in the armed forces usually mandates four years of active service and two years as inactive reserve, but that can sometimes be lowered depending on the needs of the branch.

What Other Responsibilities Do Military Police Have?

Military police may work in combat zones, providing security for dignitaries, guarding prisoners, and performing anti-terrorism duties against insurgents. They also perform patrols and should be capable of assessing security, both of the base or encampment and of infrastructures like the roads and bridges leading to it. Some members of the military police make use of Military Working Dogs (MWDs), in a manner akin to K9 units used by ordinary police forces.

Like all service members, military police must continually meet the standards set by their branch for physical fitness, knowledge of weapons and tactics, and have a familiarity with the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which they must obey and enforce.

What Kind of Money Do Military Police Make?

Military police are paid according to their rank and experience, like all members of the military. An E-1, the lowest pay grade, will make $1,638 per month, although it is rare to hold such a rank for more than a few months. After four years of service, an E-5 ranking would be common, making $2,733 each month. Military pay is also supplemented by housing and food allowances, hazard pay for those in combat zones, access to medical care through the Veteran's Affairs administration and low cost insurance, all of which can alter the take home pay significantly.

What Can Former Military Police Do After Leaving the Military?

The obvious career choice for a discharged service member who worked in the military police is to take up a career as a civilian police officer. The Army has a special program, called PaYS, to assist veterans in finding work after being discharged, which includes connections to police departments, highway patrol, and sheriff's offices around the country. Military police veterans might also be able to establish themselves in the field of private security, protecting industrial sites or guarding important public figures or businessmen.

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