By Ms. LaTrice Langston (IMCOM)June 15, 2018
By the time you've handed the gate guard your identification, the officer has already begun the process of assessing the possibility of you being a potential threat to the safety of Fort Jackson and the surrounding community.
Training provided to the gate guards equips them with the skills necessary to quickly access a situation to determine if something is "off." Relying on the training received and their unique skill set, guards have been able to intercept controlled substances such as marijuana, fire arms and falsified documents, to include counterfeit state identification, drivers licenses, and immigration and naturalization documentation.
Access to Fort Jackson is welcome to those individuals who have a valid reason to be on the installation said Fernando Vasquez, the Fort Jackson's chief of physical security. When individuals do not have a valid reason to access the installation or attempt to access the installation under false pretenses, officers at the gate are able to utilize their training of identification of false documents.
"Some of the problems we encounter at our gates are individuals trying to access the installation with false documents such as false resident cards, false, suspended and or revoked driver's licenses and various other documents," he said. "Our guards receive training on identification of false documents and we have confiscated thousands of ID's from both civilians and former service members and dependents that have been reported lost, stolen or no longer valid."
Vasquez said when identification is scanned and or ran through the system to gain a visitors pass, guards are notified if the individual has a warrant for their arrest.
"If you've committed a felony or crime and have a warrant out for your arrest, you will be detained at the gate, and if it is extraditable warrant the individual will be detained until handed over to the agency who initiated the warrant," he said.
Notification of past criminal history and pending actions are not just limited to the civilian sector.
"If you were in the military and you committed a crime in another location, we're going to know because our system will pick up on it," he added. "Say a crime was committed in California as a Reservist; if something is pending on the record, we will know."
In addition to identification of falsified documents, gate guards are also trained to quickly assess situations to determine impairment of an individual and visual inspection for controlled substances and fire arms.
Michael Navarro, the chief of Fort Jackson's guards, credits law abiding citizens for providing ample examples of what is right so that suspicious situations stand out.
"Ninety point nine percent of the people we have here on Fort Jackson, do the right thing so we know what looks right, so when something looks wrong or off our officers quick to find out and make an assessment and decision on that situation," he said
Vasquez said to ensure compliance with federal and state laws, Fort Jackson, visitors should ensure they have no weapons or controlled substances; prescription drugs or marijuana on their person, on any individual in the vehicle, or in the vehicle being driven onto the installation.
You will be caught, he said.