The Army is restructuring its Criminal Investigation Command and overhauling the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program (SHARP) following a scathing review last year of a rash of murders, sexual assaults and harassment at Fort Hood, Texas.
The Ford Hood Independent Review Committee was formed to examine the command climate and culture at the massive base in central Texas and the surrounding community to determine whether they “reflect the Army‘s commitment to safety, respect, inclusiveness, diversity and freedom from sexual assault and sexual harassment,” officials said.
“We expect the redesigned SHARP program will look out for the best interest of our soldiers and civilians by focusing on prevention, survivor support and holding leaders at all echelons accountable,” Army officials said. “It’s important to note that formations are already acting at the grassroots level by expanding SHARP 360 facilities and testing virtual reality technology.”
The most notorious case at Fort Hood was that of Specialist Vanessa Guillen, 20, who was assigned to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment. She was killed April 20, 2020 in the unit’s arms room by another soldier, 20-year-old Aaron David Robinson, who fatally shot himself as local police were about to take him into custody.
Her remains were later found about 20 miles away from the post. Spc. Guillen told her family she was being sexually harassed by another soldier but feared to report the incident.
The review committee concluded that the Fort Hood investigative unit — which investigates felony crimes such as murders — was understaffed and lacked top-of-the-line investigative equipment. Army officials now say the unit is fully manned with experienced agents and has access to state-of-the-art software and digital-forensic examination tools.
The investigation also resulted in Army-wide changes within the criminal investigation units. New directives require a full investigation of all off-post drug overdoses involving Army personnel, including the source of the drugs. Also, the update policy requires a full investigation of any suicide in the ranks, whether it occurs on or off post.
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