Photo Information

Cpl. Chris Gurr, civilian police working dog handler, instructs his canine partner, Barros, to check an 18-wheeler for narcotics at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s commercial gate, Friday.

Photo by Marti Gatlin

Commercial vehicle inspections increase

27 Sep 2012 | Marti Gatlin

Inspections of all commercial vehicles leaving Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s commercial gate on Fleming Road may cause delays for privately owned vehicles leaving the base through that gate, according to installation officials.

“We are now doing 100-percent inspections on all commercial vehicles, inbound and outbound,” Lt. William Womble Jr., chief accident investigator, Marine Corps Police Department, said. Womble is responsible for the commercial gate process.

The commercial gate is open Mondays-Fridays from 6:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. and its inbound traffic lane closes on weekdays at 3:30 p.m.

“There is really no change to our 100-percent inbound inspections and that is for force protection purposes,” he said. “We look for contraband - explosives and weapons. The purpose for the increased outbound inspections is to ensure the government property that leaves the base is authorized to leave the base.

“It also helps with the tracking of equipment to make sure the paperwork is properly filled out prior to the equipment leaving the base,” Womble said.

The police department is working with other organizations to improve and streamline the process concerning equipment leaving the base and the paperwork that goes with the equipment, he added.

“We verify the bill of lading with what is actually loaded on the trucks and ensure that the equipment is supposed to be leaving the base according to the bill of lading,” he said.

“We also have a binder (being created) of photographs and descriptions of all the equipment shipped out of here, (which) helps those who aren’t prior military to identify the pieces of equipment accurately,” Womble said.

He noted the inspections will slow down outbound traffic at the commercial gate. No inbound POVs are allowed at the commercial gate.

“The inspection for an outbound commercial vehicle can take anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 minutes,” he said. “It depends on what they have loaded and how much. Pallets take a little longer to inspect as opposed to a flatbed truck with a single piece of equipment on it.”

The chief accident investigator said all commercial vehicles - 18-wheelers and contractor vehicles such as dump trucks, pick-ups, etc. - entering the base are given tracking numbers to track how long they are here.

“This process helps to ensure the proper tracking of government property from the point of shipment to its destination and the proper accountability of government equipment,” Womble said. “The delay on outbound can delay the inbound slightly because we have to use the same inspectors for both processes.”

Other organizations such as the Civilian Police Working Dogs Section, Criminal Investigative Division, Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Distribution Management Office, provide assistance with the commercial gate process.

“We get assistance from the Distribution Management Office as far as the proper paperwork needed for shipment,” Womble said. “As far as inbound goes, we are primarily concerned with the drop-off location for loads coming on and we also inspect them for weapons and explosives, and the outbound is primarily concerned with the proper loading of vehicles and the bill of lading to track the equipment going out. If they don’t have the proper bill of lading paperwork, we will turn them around to go get it.”

“All commercial 18-wheelers and contractors who attempt to exit the other two base gates will be turned around and sent to the commercial gate,” he added.

Angela Dunwoodie, kennel master, Civilian Police Working Dogs Section, said the civilian police working dogs and their handlers focus on contraband as the first ones to search vehicles at the commercial gate.

“Our main focus is to detect explosives, guns or narcotics,” she said. “That’s how we help out. We are the first ones to search the vehicle and then a hand search is done, so we are the first line of defense in doing the inspections. Counterterrorism and counternarcotics ensure nothing is getting on base. Our job is to protect the base.”

CID agents also have a role in the commercial gate process.

“Our role in the commercial vehicle inspection outbound operation is to provide the command with an overview on the productivity of this operation based on volume, type and number of cases made,” Agent Kevin Casey, CID, said.

“Based on a case-by-case basis some of these criminal cases may be assumed by us for further review and citation,” he said. “This is just one more action in our continuing effort to make this facility more secure and reduce it as a potential target for terrorist or criminal activity.”

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany