Construction to begin at post entrances
August 26, 2010
FORT SILL, Okla.-- Fort Sill officials have been working to get state-of-the-art gates at the post's entrances for more than three years. Starting Sept. 7, the future will begin.
On that date, Phase One construction will begin at Fort Sill's Apache Gate to build the structures for the Automated Installation Entry gate.
"AIE will go where the existing small guard shack is," said Bob Pirtle, Fort Sill provost marshal. "It will bring a little bit of lane width for the road, it will bring raised islands, it will bring guard booths, it will bring overhead cover and vastly improved working conditions for the guards. This will give them a much better working environment."
Contractors have told Pirtle that construction should take approximately 90 days per gate, weather permitting. Traffic at Apache Gate will be rerouted to flow under the large canopy that was built at the gate about a year ago. Pirtle said after Apache Gate is finished, which should be around the beginning of December, contractors will begin the process at Key Gate East to coincide with the yearly exodus from basic training and finish before the summer surge of trainees.
Even after the physical structures are finished, motorists coming onto post won't notice a lot of difference, other than the appearance of the structures. Everyone in a vehicle will still have to show a government issued ID card to gate guards with Mobilisa scanners.
"We will not do away with Mobilisa," Pirtle said. "It's too good of a tool, because we can use Mobilisa as a random anti-terrorism measure. We can set up on a road away from the gate and do checks, we can check work sites, so Mobilisa is an important tool for us."
Pirtle said the AIE is scheduled to go fully functional in 2013. He said it is a Common Access Card-type system where a motorist swipes the card and a guard in the guard shack sees a computer screen turn different colors.
"It's really simple," said Pirtle. "If the screen turns green, the [barricade] arm goes up and you come on Fort Sill. If the screen turns red, there's a problem."
He said problems could be as simple as a mistake in the registration process or the fact that the card holder may have a warrant for their arrest.
Pirtle said the next three years will be spent training Fort Sill gate guards, police and administrative personnel on how to use the system and make sure the registration process goes as smoothly as possible.
<b>What you need to do</b>
Pirtle said one of the keys to making the system go smoothly for motorists, Soldiers and post employees is to get properly registered when the time comes.
"You'll have to come back in and re-register your vehicle," he said. "The registration you have now will not work on AIE. The AIE is more in-depth, it has a (radio frequency identifier) tag that will be placed on your vehicle and you will have a new picture ID taken. So, when you come in the gate, the card, the RFI tag and the photo all have to match up."
Pirtle said he expects registration for Fort Sill residents and employees to begin about a year or more out from the actual implementation of the system.
The provost marshal asks Fort Sill motorists for their patience while the gates are being built. He said he understands construction, on and off post, can be frustrating, but the end result will be beneficial for everyone.
"We work hard on the security of our gates and AIE is going to make us better," Pirtle said. "AIE will give us an opportunity to be more secure, AIE gives us a chance to tighten our security noose around the post and make us a harder target for someone who might have designs as a terrorist or even just normal criminal activity. So, AIE is going to be a good thing for us and we're excited about it."