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Lt. Col. Jan Durham, commanding officer of 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, presents a plaque of appreciation to Scott Voigts, mayor of Lake Forest. The city of Lake Forest voted unanimously to adopt 1st Law Enforcement Battalion in Lake Forest, Calif., Sept. 17.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Reel

City of Lake Forest adopts 1st Law Enforcement Battalion

20 Sep 2013 | Lance Cpl. Scott Reel

The city council of Lake Forest approved a motion to adopt 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force at City Hall in Lake Forest, Calif., Sept. 17. 

The council voted unanimously in favor of Lake Forest adopting 1st LE Bn. Lt. Col. Jan Durham, commanding officer of 1st LE Bn, presented a plaque of appreciation to Scott Voigts, mayor of Lake Forest, following the vote. 
The purpose of the adoption is to generate community wide support for the Marines and sailors of 1st LE Bn and the families of Lake Forest on an on-going basis, both when the battalion is home or deployed. 

“This was a previous recommendation given to me by my former sergeant major who’s no longer with our unit,” Durham said. “He knew of certain battalions that have been adopted, knew that we were a brand new unit that perhaps use some community support, and it just continued from there.

“You should never become divorced from the communities that you support,” Durham added. “And that seems like a catch phrase but it really isn’t. The strength of the Corps is drawn from the community and society at large. I think it’s a very important thing for the Marine Corps to maintain close ties with these communities that not only provide young men and women to come into the Marine Corps, but provide other types of support as well. So this is a really good thing.”

Although the idea manifested within the unit, the process of linking a unit to a community is a lengthy process that involved an expert on the subject.  

Durham said they contacted former Marine Tim Sloat, who has helped various units navigate the process of reaching out to community members and influence members to bring this to the city council for a vote. 

Sloat says he ‘brokered the deal,’ one of 19 he’s done for the Marine Corps.  

There are several key steps in an adoption, and the first one is the city council has to make it official, and this gives it some weight and legitimacy, Sloat said. The second step is an adoption committee is formed; the committee’s job is to plan events in the city that will strengthen ties between the unit and Lake Forest. 

1st LE Bn is one of the newest units in the Marine Corps with unique skills to offer a community and could benefit from community support to help them mature and strengthen. 

“We look forward to the possibilities of this mutually beneficial relationship and to working with private citizens, the yet-to-be formed adoption committee and city officials, to make those possibilities a reality,” Durham said. 

As well as the excitement from 1st LE Bn, the city is equally as excited. 

“I think it would be a great honor for us as a city to lend our support as a community to 1st Law Enforcement Battalion,” Voigts said.  

“I think Marines, when they understand the type of support and how we can support the community back, will be excited,” Durham said. “It would be nice to support the city of Lake Forest and give something back to them since they may be providing various forms of assistance.”