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A Fort Rucker security guard verifies a person’s credentials at an entry control point. (Photo Credit: File photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker officials recently revisited the post’s gate access policy in an effort to fine-tune the issuance of visitor passes and to continue the momentum of last year’s reduction of minor crimes that was seen as a result of the pandemic.

Officials reduced the length of visitors passes for people without a long-term reason to be on post from six months to seven days in early April – then extended that to 30 days in early June – to try to continue 2020’s trend of a significant reduction in minor crimes when access to the post was severely restricted because of the pandemic.

Nothing about the process for getting a visitors pass has changed, only the length of time for passes for unsponsored people with no documentation showing a need to come on post, according to John Tkac, Fort Rucker Directorate of Public Safety chief of physical security.

For people with an established need to be on post, getting a pass for longer than 30 days is a simple process, Tkac added.

“Documentation can be as simple as showing your Silver Wings Golf Club membership card, or even a Fort Rucker hunting permit – those show the personnel at the visitor control center that you have a need and they’ll issue you a six-month pass,” he said.

The process for obtaining a visitors pass is explained in detail at https://home.army.mil/rucker/index.php/visit, and also includes an extensive FAQ list and downloadable forms to expedite the process at the VCCs.

Basically, Tkac said, it boils down to if a visitor with no military affiliation wants to come on post to visit the museum or attend an event, then they get the 30-day pass by showing their ID, such as a drivers license, at one of the VCCs – located at Daleville or Ozark gates.

If a visitor has a reason to be on post for a longer period, they simply need to provide documentation to that effect to the VCC personnel, and they can get a six-month pass.

For people who have a requirement for a year-long pass, they need to obtain a sponsor – such as a relative who is a Soldier who lives on post, or someone at an organization they must visit regularly, etc. The visitor gets that person to agree to sponsor them, the sponsor completes the form and gets it signed through their command or director, and then the visitor provides that form at the VCC to be issued the pass.

“At the VCC, personnel will conduct a background check through the system to make sure visitors don’t have anything that would disqualify them from getting a pass and coming on post unescorted,” Tkac said. “Then they take their picture and issue them their pass.

“The procedures obtaining a pass are not as difficult or cumbersome as some people seem to think they are,” he added. “It’s really an easy process.”

And the effort to reduce crime isn’t an indicator that Fort Rucker isn’t a safe place to live, work and play, Tkac said.

“In 2020, we had more restrictive access to the installation based on the general orders that were issued and the resulting restricted access to visitors,” he said. “When we looked at the 2019 crime statistics that involved subjects who had no military affiliation and we compared them to 2020, we saw there was a huge decline in the number of offenses.”

The main offenses Tkac referenced were things like cases of driving under the influence, people bringing weapons on post, marijuana possession, and traffic citations and accidents.

“In 2020, those sorts of offenses were reduced drastically – almost down to none at all in some areas,” he added.

For more information on Fort Rucker’s visitor policy or the process for obtaining a pass, visit the website referenced previously or call 255-0607.