Fort Rucker police discuss law enforcement trends
October 28, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker civilian police officials shared their insights into various trends they have noted taking place on the installation during a lunch and learn session Oct. 21.
Marcel Dumais, civilian police chief, said the public should be aware of these trends in order to help lessen the number of incidents occurring on post.
Trends include an increased number of parking lot fender-benders, bringing loaded weapons on post and impaired drivers at the gates.
"We've seen a large number of minor traffic accidents on post over the last few months," Dumais said. "Most of these are fender-benders occurring around the post exchange, the commissary and the shoppette. What we're finding is that a lot of this is happening because of negligence."
Dumais said efforts are being made to decrease the number of incidents in these areas. Over time, the parking lot configuration at the commissary will change and angled parking spaces have been added at the mini-mall shoppette. This makes backing out easier for drivers and makes sure there's less confusion about which direction vehicles should travel while in the parking lot.
"We saw a lot of drivers cutting their wheels too early and scraping their vehicles down the side of another while trying to get out at the shoppette," he said. "The changes should help to change some of that. Now, it's really clear when you're going the wrong way on a one-way street."
Still, Dumais said the main way to curb these issues is for people to be more aware of their surroundings and to not drive carelessly.
Another important issue community and military police have encountered is an increasing number of drivers bringing loaded weapons on post, Dumais added.
According to Fort Rucker regulations 215-1 and 600-1, loaded weapons are not to be transported on post. Weapons and ammunition are to be kept separate from each other while being transported on post.
"You can bring a weapon onto Fort Rucker, that's not an issue as long as you're going to a bona fide sporting event," he said. "The problem is carrying a loaded weapon in the vehicle."
The reason for the increase in loaded-weapon incidents isn't clear, he said. However, he does think "comfort" might have something to do with it.
"We have Soldiers coming back from downrange who've been gone upwards of 15 months who got comfortable carrying a loaded weapon," he said. "They might feel like they need to carry it everywhere they go because they got used to it."
Random anti-terrorism measure program checks at the post security gates have also revealed a number of motorists driving under the influence, he said.
"The Gate Guards are trained to look for any kind of suspicious activity, like a possibly intoxicated driver," he said. "If they think there's a problem, they'll ask you to pull over and either community or military police will perform a field sobriety test and check the vehicle."
Bob Saliewicz, Aviation Branch Safety Office safety and occupational health specialist, said the information presented during the session was valuable, even to someone who has been on post for a long time.
"More people need to come to these events when they happen," he said. "There's a lot of good information that people need to know."
Sharron Manning, Aviation Branch Safety Office manager, agreed with Saliewicz in regards to the information presented.
"As long as I've been on post, I still learned something new (during the session)," she said.