Vehicle registration to be discontinued
December 14, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- As of Jan.1, those entering Fort Jackson will no longer be issued vehicle decals. This policy change is aimed at eliminating the duplicated registration processes between the state and the military, post officials said.
"The intent is to eliminate the redundancy," said Lt. Col. Raymond Simons, Director of Emergency Services.
States already verify insurance information upon issuing vehicle registrations, therefore it is unnecessary for the military to do so as well, Simons said. Current decals will remain valid, but it is not necessary to turn them in or renew them upon expiration.
The Department of the Army issued a recommendation this summer that the use of the decal system be eliminated; exact dates to implement the policy were left to the discretion of each installation's commander. Fernando Vasquez, chief of Physical Security, stressed that the Army issued a recommendation, not a requirement.
That means that some installations have chosen to keep the decal system in place; those installations will now be responsible for funding their system rather than receiving Army-wide funding for it.
For those installations that are implementing the change, such as Fort Jackson, it is still mandated that all vehicles meet certain criteria in accordance to state and local laws. For example, drivers entering the installation will still be required to hold a valid driver's license, and all vehicles must be registered and insured. Anyone entering Fort Jackson must also have a valid reason to do so.
Those in charge of implementing this new system on Fort Jackson said that they are taking every measure necessary to mitigate any safety risks that could be associated with the change.
"There is no such thing as an open post," said Simons.
Simons added that every person entering the post will still be required to show a valid government-issued identification card, which will be scanned with handheld scanning devices.
"There will now be a 100 percent check using the scanners," Vasquez said.
These handheld scanners cross-reference a national database, to include security and criminal databases.
Vasquez said that a major advantage of the new system is that security personnel will now be better able to screen each individual rather than just the vehicle. There is also a process that is under way for some contractors coming onto the installation. They will be required to undergo background checks and submit documentation showing proof of registration, insurance and reason for entrance as well, Vasquez said.
One major change is that there will no longer be specific gates and lanes to enter the post. Instead, all gates will be accessible to all drivers. The area previously designated as the sign-in area will now be a search inspection area.
Simons said that random searches will be conducted by security personnel at all gates, and that there will be an increase in inspections. Vasquez said that there will also be increased patrols and anti-terrorism measures taken.
Both Simons and Vasquez said that drivers can expect delays at the gates while the new system is being implemented.