By Jim Dresbach, Pentagram staff writerApril 25, 2014
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - An influx of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall vehicular traffic is a direct result of warmer spring weather. More events like the Twilight Tattoo and the opening of the Officers Club pools bring additional wheels and larger crowds to the base. The JBM-HH Police Department is situated to monitor parking and traffic on the Fort McNair, Henderson Hall and Fort Myer portions of JBM-HH.
In a traffic update with the Pentagram, JBM-HH Police Department's lead sergeant, Stephen Brant, alerted motorists to stay within the lines of motor vehicle laws - and the parking spaces - throughout the joint base.
"Parking is the big issue," said Brant, who is a 10-year JBM-HH PD veteran. "There are so many buildings that house individuals who are showing up on a daily basis all in a centralized area. There's not a centralized parking garage. There are parking lots, but that only covers so much. A lot of the [accident] issues we've come across as traffic investigators are that accidents happen because of illegally-parked vehicles."
According to Brant, 100 traffic accidents occur annually on JBM-HH and between 350 and 500 citations are issued for parking and driving infractions each calendar year. Brant stressed that parking correctly and in between white-painted lines, in Marine Corps Exchange garage spots and Tri-Service parking areas, will reduce citations.
"Simply put, the only legal parking on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is in a legally-marked parking space," said Brant. "It must be legally marked. It clearly states that in 190-15. Anything that is not legally marked, it is not a parking space."
JBM-HH Regulation 190-15 is the uniform traffic policy, which outlines the responsibilities of vehicle operators inside the walls of the installation. It is a 38-page document detailing the do's and don'ts of curb parking to off-street parking to abandoned vehicle policies to citations for traffic and parking infractions.
The whole document may be viewed at www.jbmhh.army.mil/web/jbmhh/JBMHHRegulations/FMMC190-15.pdf.
If a vehicle owner is cited for illegal parking on JBM-HH streets or its parking lots and ticketed by JBM-HH police, the ticket will be a DD form 1408 (an armed forces ticket) but state or District of Columbia moving violations can also be assessed on the base. All violators are strongly urged to not ignore citations and to take required actions or risk facing further disciplinary actions.
"If [the citation] is a payable ticket, pay the fine or show up to court to contest the matter," Brant suggested. "If it is a DD form 1408 - that's an armed forces citation. Those are chain of command-based, so what happens with those is a copy gets sent to your chain of command for disciplinary action, and it gets entered into our database."
Brant also explained how the civilian DD form 1408 infraction is handled. Supervisors of non-service members who were issued armed forces tickets will be notified and disciplinary action is possible.
The severe discipline that may occur due to repeat parking or moving vehicle infractions is the three strikes rule outlined in Regulation 190-15. It states: "The 'Three Strikes' will be used in lieu of traffic points. This allows the ... commander's prerogative to issue, revoke, suspend, deny, or reinstate installation driving privileges. The Three Strike rule will apply when a violator receives three  or more written citations within a year of the first violation."
Brant mentioned the penalty is stiffer if a base-suspended driver is found driving on the installation. Those caught while under suspension will have an additional three to five years added to the suspension, he said.
"We have suspended a lot of people," Brant said. "We've also had people driving on suspension and ended up with three to five years added on. That doesn't help out a [Soldier's] company because that person can no longer legally drive on the installation - even for duty."
In regard to abandoned vehicles, Brant said any service member who is tagged for possessing a seldom-moved car, truck or motorcycle should contact the police department immediately.
"We will try to work with the owner of an abandoned vehicle," Brant said. "We're here to resolve the situation; not penalize you, but if you fail to work with us, we won't hesitate to follow the letter of the law."
Regulation 190-15 states abandoned vehicles will be tagged with an abandoned vehicle notice. After 72 business hours following the tagging, the vehicle will be towed, but JBM-HH PD is clear that it wants to work with vehicle owners to avoid vehicle removal.