Military policeman who served in Iraq training to be Danville cop

December 16, 2003|GARY MOYERS

Danville's soon-to-be newest police officer may be a rookie, but he brings a wealth of experience from a similar field.

Jason Wariner, 24, began his 16-week police academy training Monday in Richmond - for the second time - after his first attempt was interrupted by the war in Iraq earlier this year.

Wariner has completed two overseas tours of duty as a member of the 223rd Military Police unit of the National Guard, based in Louisville, and served a third tour in northern Kentucky providing airport security immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. He said his MP experience in the Guard should translate well into a civilian position as police officer.

"There are a lot of similarities between MPs and police officers," he said. "Both are responsible for dealing with crisis situations, and you have to keep your head in both jobs."


Wariner is a native of Clinton County, and was hired as a Danville police officer in December 2002. He completed five weeks at the police academy before the call came to deploy to Kuwait and Iraq. He reported to Fort Dix for training Jan. 2, and left the United States Feb. 7 for Kuwait.

Coalition forces crossed from Kuwait into Iraq March 19, and Wariner's unit came into Iraq four days later.

"We were one of the first MP units to cross the border into Iraq," he said. "Because we had some of the newest equipment, we provided escort security for convoys and other squads."

The young Guardsman who plans to be married after his academy training said the American public isn't aware of the good things being done my the military in Iraq.

"It's kind of a shame, because a lot of the good things our guys are doing over there get messed up by the bad guys," he said. "It's still unsettled over there. I don't think the public has any idea how rough our guys have it."

Wariner and the other members of the MP unit came home the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, completing a 10-month deployment. Danville Police Chief Jeff Peek said there was never any doubt that Wariner's job would be waiting when he returned.

"He made a great impression on us in the short time he was here before he was deployed," said Peek. "We feel like he will be a terrific addition to our department. On a personal level, we're glad to have our brother back, safe and sound.

"We kept in contact with him as much as was allowed, and we're very proud of him," he said.

"He's served his country three times on active duty, twice overseas, and now he's coming home to serve his community."

Wariner said the road he followed to become a police officer began in high school.

"I took four years of ROTC in high school, and just liked the whole military outlook," he said.

"I tried some other jobs when I got out of school, but I kept going back to wanting to be a police officer. I enlisted in the Guard as soon as I got out of high school. Originally I was in a field artillery unit, but I was working at the state fair in Louisville one year and met a guy in the MP unit. After talking to him, I put in for a transfer."

His unit provided airport security in Cincinnati, and went to Bosnia in 2002.

"In Bosnia, I was part of a personal security detail that guarded generals, the Secretary of Defense when he visited, and other dignitaries," he said.

Before leaving for Iraq, Wariner said his brother convinced him to apply for a police job in Danville.

My brother, Jimmy, is a lieutenant in the Guard and has lived in Danville for seven years," he said. "He kept trying to get me to move here," he said. "He really likes it here, and he kept telling me I would, too."

Soon, he'll get his chance to make up his own mind about Danville.

"I look forward to getting back here and getting to work," he said. "I like Danville a lot, based on what I've seen so far, and the people in the department are first class.

"I feel like I've gained a lot of experience in the Guard," he said. "That's something that will serve me well as a police officer."

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