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Securing Our Safety: MCLB Albany’s K-9 officers sniff for contraband during security checks

By Verda L. Parker | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | December 29, 2016

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Editor’s Note: “Securing Our Safety” is the second in an ‘S.O.S.’ series highlighting Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s law enforcement and fire and rescue personnel charged with protecting and securing the base community.

 

Gaining access through any Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany entry point is something installation security officials take very seriously and, as such, the Public Safety Division utilizes several resources to mitigate potential safety risks.

 

Marine Corps Police Department’s law enforcement officers, including military working dogs/K-9 officers and physical security personnel inspect thousands of commercial vehicles entering and exiting the base, according to Bill McNulty, director, Public Safety Division, MCLB Albany.

 

McNulty said, in the current and years past, his team has inspected as few as 30,000 and as many as 70,000 big rigs and vendors’ vehicles requesting access to the installation annually.

 

He commented on the relevance of security personnel and sentry protocols in securing the safety of the base population.

 

“They are an important part of our crime prevention team,” McNulty explained. “These inspections greatly contribute to the Public Safety Division’s goal of providing a safe and secure community and workplace.”

 

Over time, and with the assistance of MCLB Albany’s Marine Corps Police Department’s K-9 officers, the physical security team manning the installation’s commercial gates has discovered concealed weapons and contraband, to include illegal prescription medications.

 

Cpl. Tonie Allen, police officer/K-9 handler, MCPD, 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,” Allen pointed out. “Many of them drive long distances and some of them want protection, and we understand (that); 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.”

 

In addition to inspecting commercial vehicles, Allen said the MCPD randomly conducts privately-owned vehicle searches at the non-commercial entrances as well.

 

Motorists attempting to enter the installation with concealed weapons or illegal drugs of any kind are subject to criminal charges being filed. According to Allen, they’re remanded to the Criminal Investigation Division for further investigation with the Judge Advocate General’s Office.

 

Allen offered a word of caution for commercial drivers, as well as POV motorists with plans to visit the installation.

 

“The sensitivity of these vehicles is high so we have to be careful,” she stressed. “Sometimes it may be presumed that we are being rude, but it’s for (the) safety of on-base personnel. (That) is why we are so strict where inspections are concerned. (We ask that everyone) just respect that. It’s all for them.”
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