How To Become a Marine Military Police Officer (MOS 5803)
Updated January 4, 2023
The United States Marine Corps offers a diverse array of job opportunities, including in the area of law enforcement. The Marine Corps military police perform similar duties as civilian police officers, though they work on military bases worldwide. If you find this career interesting, you may want to learn more about its requirements.
In this article, we discuss the role of a Marine Corps military police officer, list the requirements for this position and share steps you can take to become a Marine military police officer.
What is the Marine Corps military police?
The Marine Corps military police is a law enforcement branch responsible for guarding and protecting military bases. These Marines monitor the base's entrances, patrol by foot or vehicle and respond to emergency calls from military members who live there or in military housing. Their other responsibilities include protecting prisoners of war, refugees or evacuees, guarding military prisoners and performing small-unit offensive and defensive combat operations. They also perform similar day-to-day duties as civilian police officers, such as providing first response aid, managing vehicle and pedestrian traffic, preventing crime and overseeing investigations.
Each job specialty within the Marine Corps has a unique four-digit military occupational specialty code (MOS). The military places roles in groups based on occupational fields, represented by the code's first two digits. Roles within the military police and corrections field start with 58. For example, the Marine Corps Military Police code is MOS 5811 and the Marine Corps Military Police Officer code is MOS 5803.
Requirements for joining the Marine military police
It's important that candidates applying for Marine Corps military police positions meet the following requirements:
Be a citizen of the United States
Have a valid U.S. driver's license
Be at least 19 years old before completing training
Have normal, color vision that's correctable to 20/20
Be at least 65 inches tall
Have the ability to speak clearly
Be eligible for a secret security clearance
Be free of mental, nervous or emotional conditions
Receive a score of at least 100 on the General Technical (GT) portion of the ASVAB
Be free of convictions by special- or general courts-martial or civil courts, excluding minor traffic violations
Be free of convictions involving illegal drugs, spousal or domestic abuse or immoral character
Complete the basic military police course
How to become a Marine Corps military police officer
There are several requirements to fulfill in order to become a Marine Corps military police officer. If you plan on pursuing this career, you can follow these steps:
1. Participate in Marine Corps basic training
If you're new to the U.S. Marine Corps, the first step is to attend basic training. You can attend training at one of its two Recruit Depots, which are in San Diego, California, and Parris Island, South Carolina. Training lasts 13 weeks and includes physical drills and academic instruction. Some skills you learn include hand-to-hand combat, swimming, marksmanship and combat survival. In the 10th week, you undergo a test on what you learned.
This testing consists of a physical fitness test, written exam, final drill evaluation and a 54-hour field event called the Crucible. To enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps, it's vital that you meet the following requirements:
Be a United States citizen
Be between the ages of 17 and 28
Have a high school diploma or Generational Educational Development (GED)
Be able to pass a criminal background check
Be free from any felony convictions
Pass the Initial Strength Test (IST)
Receive a score of 31 or more on the Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test if you have a high school diploma or at least 50 if you have a GED or nontraditional degree
2. Attend Marine Combat Training
After graduating from basic training, you attend Marine Combat Training at the School of Infantry located in Camp Pendleton, California, or Camp Geiger, North Carolina. This condensed training lasts 29 days and applies to individuals whose military occupational specialty is anything other than infantry, such as military police officers, cooks and administrative personnel. During this training, you learn basic combat and weapons skills, along with more specialized training related to improvised explosive devices, convoy operations and tactical communications.
3. Train at the Marine Corps Police Academy
To become a U.S. Marine Corps military police officer, the next step is to attend Law Enforcement Military Police training within the Marine Corps Police Academy (MCPA) at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. For up to 20 weeks, you learn various law enforcement techniques using a combination of verbal instruction and practical application. This training comprises the Basic Police Officer Course (BPOC) and MCPA Advanced Training courses.
Under the basic course, you study the following areas:
Law enforcement operations
Weapons and non-lethal weapons
First aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED)
Advanced courses focus on specialized skills that may enable you to perform specific assignments. Here are the courses available:
Field Training Officer (FTO)
Desk Sergeants/Patrol Sergeants
Special Reaction Team (SRT)
4. Progress to your first role
After you complete your training, you may begin your first Marine military police role. Some tasks you may perform include guarding the entrances, verifying visitors' credentials and monitoring the area for suspicious activities. Military police may oversee specific patrol zones throughout the base, which you can do via vehicle or foot. They might also assist with detainees and forensic investigations.
Advancement opportunities for Marine Corps military police officers
After spending time in the Marine military police, you may consider furthering your skill set. The Marine Corps offers several opportunities to advance or specialize. Based on the types of advanced training or courses you participate in, you can choose to pursue Marine Corps positions related to the military police, such as:
Dog handler: Additional training enables military police to support investigations by working with dogs. They may use dogs to detect explosives, drugs or unauthorized personnel and locate missing individuals.
Accident investigator: Military police can receive additional training to help them enforce traffic laws and regulations. They also gain knowledge regarding accident investigations and reports and traffic control studies.
SRT member: With SRT training, military police gain additional capabilities to counter or contain special threat situations like hostage, terrorist or sniper situations. Some skills used include marksmanship, tactical movement and building entry and clearing.
Military police investigator: In this more advanced military police role, individuals investigate violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is the internal code that guides service members. They may perform criminal investigations, personal protective services and crisis management and negotiation tasks.
Criminal Investigation Division special agent: These individuals assist with felony criminal investigations regarding crimes against Marine personnel or property. They may perform duties such as covert operations, personal protective services and polygraph examinations.
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