February 7, 2014 --
It is widely believed here that the Marine Corps Police Department’s officers serve as the base’s first line of defense.
However, according to Kent Morrison, executive director, MCLB Albany, the entire base population shares the responsibility to protect each other and our families.
“We owe it to ourselves,” Morrison said. “Every family member and employee at this installation should be vigilant and observant and report things that are unusual. We rely on everyone to report any potential situations which may lead to our vulnerability.”
The Marine base is considered a city within a city, and has many different types of protective measures in place that Morrison calls “multilayer.”
“This multilayer approach includes, but is not limited to, Marine Corps police officers manning the gates or patrolling the base, the workforce that includes active-duty and reserve military, civilian-Marines, contractors and military family members (and even retirees),” Morrison said.
The Marine Corps Police Department has the main responsibility of providing protection to the base’s employees and residents, according to Bill McNulty, director, Public Safety Division, MCLB Albany.
“We have a perimeter fence around the base,” McNulty said. “In essence, we are a closed installation. Because of that, there is no free access to the installation.
“The gates are all manned by police officers, who screen individuals requesting access to the installation,” McNulty said. “Those screened include active-duty military, retired military, civilian employees, vendors, contractors and visitors.”
All employees and visitors must go through one of three entry control points to enter MCLB Albany: the Main Gate, the Commercial Vehicle Gate and the Johnson Road Gate.
“All visitors are referred to the Pass and Identification Office where their needs to access the base and their suitability to access the base are determined,” McNulty said.
Visitors are screened to ensure there are no criminal wants or warrants and officials determine whether they have a legitimate reason to be on the base, according to McNulty.
“Recently, we placed into custody an individual who had warrants for armed robbery, false imprisonment, caring a firearm during the commission of a felony and larceny through our routine screening process,” McNulty revealed.
“We also conduct random vehicle inspections using police officers and military working dogs at the entry points of the base,” he continued. “Our commercial vehicle inspection team inspected approximately 70,000 vehicles in 2013.”
McNulty added MCPD officers inspect railroad transit cars that travel the rails aboard the base as well.
In addition, the base has an Eagle Eyes Program, which is designed to allow people to report suspicious activity on base.
“The Eagle Eyes Program is not just for MCPD,” McNulty pointed out. “It is additional eyes and ears around the base community.
“It can be used for someone who appears to have government property in his or her vehicle, when you observe a person in an area where he or she should not be, or notice someone trying to illicit information,” he said.
Morrison added MCLB Albany’s Fire Department, Mission Assurance Branch and Security Augmentation Force are a part of the base’s first line of defense as well.
According to Bob James, deputy director, Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany, mission assurance is an effective and efficient means to protect the force while managing risk to the MCLB Albany mission.
“Mission assurance is a process to protect or ensure the continued function and resilience of capabilities and assets, including personnel, equipment, facilities, networks, information and information systems, infrastructure, and supply chains critical to the performance of this base’s mission essential functions in any operating environment,” James said.
Mission assurance covers a wide range of manmade threats such as technological failures as well as natural threats to include tornadoes and floods to the installation, he added.
Another element of the base’s first line of defense is the Security Augmentation Force. The purpose of the SAF is to enhance security operations during an emergency or crisis, McNulty pointed out.
Cpl. James Etheridge, administrative specialist, Military Personnel, MCLB Albany, has been part of the base SAF team since 2012.
“Marines are riflemen first, which goes hand-in-hand with the SAF,” Etheridge said. “The SAF training I received was thorough and I believe the force is ready if called upon.
“I enjoy working with the police officers at the Marine Corps Police Department,” he continued. “It’s an honor to be part of a specialized team such as the SAF and I have a great sense of pride knowing that I can make a difference in defending those working and living on base.”
Morrison concluded with a message to all personnel, “Have the courage and responsibility to call someone and report suspicious activity. Don’t just think someone else will see it or someone else will do it. We all have to do our part.”
For more information, or to report suspicious activity, call the MCPD at 229-639-5181, or go to the Eagle Eyes website at www.usmceagle eyes.org.