September 18, 2014 --
All nongovernment issued identification card holders wanting to gain access to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany must go through a vetting process administered by the Marine Corps Police Department.
Sgt. Samuel Edwards, base access background investigator, MCPD, MCLB Albany, is responsible for ensuring criminal backgrounds are conducted on all personnel including new federal employees, contractors and vendors requiring or requesting access to the base.
“The purpose of a base access request is to seek permission to access the base for a specific purpose or reason, which may include to work, attend a meeting, visit friends or relatives who live on base or retiree privileges,” Edwards said. “We screen applicants for any criminal activity that would deem them to be a threat to the safety of employees and family members of the base. Our goal is to promote good order and discipline and to ensure everyone feels safe at all times.”
According to Marine Administrative Message 533/2008, Installation Access Control Policy, commanders are to establish procedures to ensure all personnel entering Marine Corps facilities/installations are screened to ensure access is restricted only to authorized persons. Screening and vetting persons prior to entry serves to enhance the security posture of the installation.
MCLB Albany Order 5512.1, Installation Access Control Regulations, signed March 11, explains the background check process, vetting, types of identification cards allowed to be used and escort and sponsorship procedures.
Edwards noted the base access procedures were revamped in September 2013 and included new base requirements while adhering to the criteria established by the Office of Personnel Management.
“The (new base) guidelines include a person cannot have access to the base who has a felony in the past seven years or a heinous misdemeanor within the last five years,” he said.
Edwards defines a felony as major crimes including but not limited to sex offenders, aggravated battery, robbery and murder. A heinous misdemeanor is theft by deception, theft by shoplifting, simple battery, simple assaults or things that may determine a person to be violent, he said.
Edwards added that individuals are not authorized access to the installation to perform any contractual work/deliveries when they are going through the background process.
Only people making deliveries or performing contractual work on a recurring basis are required to go through the base access background vetting process for a contract vendor identification badge or contractor CAC.
If it is a non-recurring delivery or driver: delivery is verified, license and warrants check is conducted before a driver is given access to make his or her delivery.
Edwards noted driving under the influence is not a heinous misdemeanor.
“If a DUI is found during a criminal background check, a license and warrant check is conducted,” he said. “If it comes back clean, an approval letter is submitted and if not, a provisional approval is given stating the individual can work but cannot drive on the installation.”
Edwards stressed there are other things that may determine if an individual’s base access may be denied or revoked, to include:
* A criminal history
* A debarment order and is currently banned from military installations
* A registered sex offender
* An illegal alien
* A prisoner work-release program, or currently on parole/probation
* National terrorist watch list
* An outstanding warrant
* Knowingly submitted an employment questionnaire with false or fraudulent information
Edwards estimates receiving between 25 – 50 requests for base access daily.
Since September 2013, there have been more than 4,500 approvals and nearly 240 denials or currently pending investigation, he said.
Edwards stated prior to the overhaul, the process would take three – six months for approval.
However, with new procedures in place, it typically takes 48-72 hours to approve a request, he said.
The background investigator also clarified the difference between sponsorship and escorting an individual on base.
“Base CAC personnel to include contractor CAC cardholders can sponsor individuals to attend business meetings, interviews and surveys,” he said. “Pass and ID personnel will verify sponsorship by contacting the sponsor and conducting a license and warrants check. Once complete, a visitor pass is given and the visitor is sent to meet the sponsor.
“Escorts are required for any person conducting contractual service work or deliveries aboard the installation on a recurring basis that have not been through the base access background process and given a contractor/vendor identification badge or common access card,” he said. “The Pass and ID Office can only issue a pass up to 72 hours. If the contractual work requires more than 72 hours, the person must go through the background process.”
Edwards said base access classes will resume in October.
Bill McNulty, director, Public Safety Division, MCLB Albany, said vetting is vital to the safety of those who work and live on the installation.
“Although sometimes the vetting process may seem cumbersome and time consuming, it is an important part of our efforts to provide base residents and our workforce a safe and secure environment,” McNulty said. “MCLB Albany is the safest gated community in the state.”
For more information, read Marine Administrative Message 533/2008, Installation Access Control Policy; MCLB Albany Order 5512.1, Installation Access Control Regulations, or call 229-639-8140.