Infantry Drills

D-67: Personnel Searches

Previous: D-64: Vehicle Searches

D-67. Every attempt should be made for host-nation authorities to conduct, or at least observe, searches of local nationals. Additionally, leaders must plan for same-gender searches. Personnel searches are conducted only when proper authorization has been obtained, usually from higher headquarters, according to the ROE, Status of Forces Agreement, or host nation agreements. This does not preclude units from searching individuals posing a threat to U.S. or other friendly forces.

D-68. Units may have to detain local nationals who become belligerent or uncooperative at checkpoint. The OPORD and ROE must address the handling of such personnel. In self-protection measures should be planned and implemented according to the orders from higher headquarters.

D-69. Searches of local nationals should be performed in a manner preserving the respect and dignity of the individual. Special consideration must be given to local customs and national cultural differences. In many cultures it is offensive for men to touch or even talk to women in public. Searchers must be polite, considerate, patient, and tactful. Leaders must make every effort not to unnecessarily offend the local population. Such situations can have a negative impact on peace operations and can quickly change popular opinion toward U.S. and other friendly forces.

D-70. Each captive is searched for weapons and ammunition, items of intelligence value, and other inappropriate items. Use of digital cameras will record detainees, weapons, ammunition, and evidence of contraband.

D-71. When possible, conduct same gender searches. However, this may not always be possible due to speed and security considerations. If females are not available, use medics or NCOs with witnesses. Perform mixed gender searches in a respectful manner using all possible measures to prevent actions interpreted as sexual molestation or assault. The onsite supervisor carefully controls Soldiers doing mixed-gender searches to prevent allegations of sexual misconduct.

D-72. Soldiers conduct individual searches in search teams consisting of the following:

  • Searcher. A searcher is the Soldier actually conducting the search. He is in the highest-risk position.
  • Security. Security includes at least one Soldier to provide security. He maintains eye contact with the individual being searched.
  • Observer. The observer is a leader having supervisory control of the search operation. He also provides early warning to the other members of the team.

D-73. The two most common methods used to conduct individual searches are the frisk search, and wall search:

  • Frisk search. This method is quick and adequate to detect weapons, evidence, or contraband. However, it is more dangerous because the searcher has less control of the individual being searched.
  • Wall search. This method affords more safety for the searcher because the individual is searched in a strained, awkward position. Upright surfaces, such as a wall, vehicle, tree, or fence may be used.

D-74. If more control is needed to search an uncooperative individual, the search team places the subject in the kneeling or prone position.

Next: Section IV – Convoy and Security Route

Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad