July 3, 2014 --
All commercial vehicles and big rigs entering Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s truck gate are required to go through a 100 percent identification check, along with other security inspections.
Rigorous checkpoint protocols are in place to ensure the safety and security of the installation’s personnel, residents and visitors.
The physical security team manning Gate 5 recently discovered several truckers attempting to gain access to the installation with concealed weapons and contraband, to include illegal prescription medications.
Base police officers want to be clear that motorists caught with these items are subject to arrest and can be turned over to civilian authorities.
Cpl. Tonie Gezzi, K-9 handler, police officer, Marine Corps Police Department, MCLB Albany, and her working dog, Meta, play a major role in the vehicle inspection process.
“As it relates to the drivers of commercial vehicles (who) come through here with concealed weapons and contraband, (many times) we just turn them around,” Gezzi points out. “Many of them drive long distances and some of them want protection, and we understand, but they can’t come on base with a weapon. We ask them to store the weapon someplace else, then they just come back through and we do another full inspection.”
Gezzi further explains the process for handling commercial vehicle drivers who attempt to enter the installation transporting illegal drugs.
“When vehicles come through (Gate 5) with contraband — the big thing has been prescription pills — we write the official incident report, take the offenders to MCPD and process them. (Many of) these people come with other people’s prescriptions, (usually) oxycodone, oxyContin, etcetera,” she says.
Gezzi adds, the MCPD randomly conducts privately-owned vehicle searches at the non-commercial entrances as well.
“When we do random vehicle inspections, which are the privately-owned vehicles on base, and find either weapons or contraband, we file criminal charges and they’re turned over to the Criminal Investigation Division,” she explains. “After we write the report, the case is turned over to CID; they, in turn, continue to investigate with the Judge Advocate General’s Office.”
Cindy Allen, physical security contractor, Homeland Security Solutions, MCLB Albany Gate 5, outlines additional procedures used when checking vehicles entering and exiting Gate 5.
“Drivers are (required) to remain in their vehicles, until they are instructed to step out,” Allen says. “This is sometimes random. Some are asked to step out while we search for weapons and contraband. When weapons and contraband are found, MCPD is contacted to determine whether or not sanctions and other penalties are imposed for the drivers.”
Multiple members of a security team thoroughly inspect vehicles attempting to access the truck gate.
One member asks the driver for his/her license information, another walks the entire perimeter checking the undercarriage with mirrors; while yet another crawls inside the cab for a closer inspection.
Simultaneously, a separate member of the security team searches under the hood with a flashlight, another calls out numbers from the locked seal on the rear doors to a member who records the information.
Once the inspection is completed, the drivers are issued an additional numbered card, which is associated with information acquired when they were cleared for entrance onto the installation.
“Last year, our commercial vehicle inspection team inspected approximately 70,000 vehicles,” Bill McNulty, director, Public Safety Division, MCLB Albany, says. “They are an important part of our crime prevention team. These inspections greatly contribute to the Public Safety Division’s goal of providing a safe and secure community and workplace.”