March 27, 2014 --
Adverse activities at several local after-hour establishments recently prompted the base commanding officer to activate an Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board to assess these potentially dangerous areas.
After careful scrutiny, at least a dozen locations are being considered for an "off limits" restricted list for military personnel and their families stationed at or visiting Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
To date, there have not been any reports of active-duty personnel being involved with any criminal activity at these establishments. Despite that fact, Base Commanding Officer Col. Don Davis is taking precautions to protect Marines, Sailors and those families assigned to or visiting this installation.
“The health, safety and welfare of our military and civilian members are always a top priority,” Davis stressed. “When businesses are identified as a potential threat to the welfare of personnel on this installation, our job is to ensure good order and discipline.
“We want to foster a positive working relationship with local businesses and the community as a whole; however, we must take actions to protect our personnel from institutions that promote activities contrary to our Marine Corps standards.
“We are closely observing and monitoring information gathered regarding certain establishments in our area, and I will make a decision when all the information is provided,” he said.
According to Agent Kevin Casey, chief criminal investigator, Criminal Investigative Division, MCLB Albany, the board developed a list of more than a dozen locations locally, and currently, at least three establishments are being strongly considered as "off limits" for military personnel at the base.
For the three establishments currently under consideration for an off-limits designation, investigators found significant adverse activities, to include prostitution, underage drinking, clashes between rival gangs and the displaying of pornographic movies on big-screen TVs, among other concerns.
“Considering the detailed investigative work we have conducted - with the cooperation of numerous local law enforcement agencies - several local businesses were identified with significant adverse activity in or around their establishments,” Casey said.
As part of this process, local law enforcement officials made unannounced visits to specific questionable locations in the Albany area to assess any adverse activities.
Board members took information from those visits to determine if a particular establishment met the criteria for an off-limits list, as set forth by Department of Defense policy.
“Putting an establishment off limits requires careful consideration and a volume of data to adequately evaluate any potential danger,” Donnie Baggs, command inspector general, MCLB Albany, said. “Currently, the board is recommending action be taken on three locations.”
Once the board identifies a candidate to be put on the off-limits list, the board considers that establishment’s specific problems and recommends, in writing to the establishment, the things it can do to mitigate the risks or dangers. The establishment is given one month to prepare either objections or responses to the board’s conclusions, or a plan to address the problems. If the establishment does not respond, it goes on the off-limits list.
The approved off-limits list will not be published until the base CO has, and approves, all the board’s recommendations.
If the recommendations are approved, the commanding officer will publish a bulletin prohibiting armed forces personnel assigned to, or visiting MCLB Albany, from conducting business with, and/or entering the premises of these establishments.
“The board is a tool to help maintain good order and discipline, and an appropriate level of health, morale, safety, ethics and welfare of armed forces personnel,” Baggs said.
“While this specifically applies to active-duty personnel and their families, it is highly recommended civilian-Marines follow suit.
“Announcing an off-limit establishments list is common practice throughout the Department of Defense,” he added.