FORT LEE, Va. – Out of 889 citations/written warnings issued for speeding on Fort Lee last year, 49 went to motorists recklessly exceeding the posted limit by more than 20 mph.
Assault and battery and domestic violence incidents trended upward in 2021. Statistics provided by the Directorate of Emergency Services also revealed Soldiers accounted for 59 percent of overall crime.
Sharing this information falls in line with the command’s desire to communicate openly and address issues that are detrimental to Fort Lee quality of life, noted Sgt. Maj. Alain F. Nadeau, the directorate’s senior enlisted leader.
“We view it as an educational and impactful way to promote safety and crime prevention at Fort Lee,” he observed. “It gives community members a glimpse of the bigger picture, so when we announce things like speeding being a problem on post, there is context to what we mean.”
It is a conversation starter as well. Tough topics like domestic violence are not discussed as often as they probably should be, and the best community leaders can do is educate – again, the purpose of this article – along with providing support in the form of the Army Community Service Family Advocacy Program (804-734-6381) that offers classes, one-on-one counseling and referral. The Religious Support Office also offers a Family Life Ministries program (804-734-0165).
Victimized individuals should not view their situation as trivial or “something that will go away with time,” the FAP team advises. Those who find themselves spiraling into a pattern of abuse are encouraged to seek help and/or contact the police immediately if it results in physical harm.
Getting back to the numbers, the PMO dispatch center handled 24,661 phone calls in 2021. Police patrols performed 3,047 traffic stops, with the most-common causes being speed, use of cellphones and failure to stop or yield in accordance with signage at marked intersections.
In the access control arena, security guards scanned 4,211,814 pieces of identification at the gates, and 119,994 of those individuals were denied entry due to a criminal record or outstanding warrant notification from the National Crime Information Center. The Visitor Control Center issued 54,664 post passes and 614 individuals were denied access. The top three reasons for denial resulted from probation violations, assaults and/or drug possession on record in the NCIC database.
“We are enormously proud of every officer who serves on our access control team,” acknowledged Chief of Guards William L. Butters. “They are vital to installation safety and security. Our professional gate guards are out there in all types of weather, day and night, usually with a smile and characteristic greeting of ‘welcome to Fort Lee’ or ‘Support Starts Here.’ We can’t pass up this opportunity to say thank you to each and every one of them.”
A note of caution followed. On multiple occasions over the past year, the PMO has raised the alarm about dangerous motorist behaviors such as speeding or abrupt lane changes at the ACPs. They are actions that can potentially harm security guards or other motorists. So again, it is a teaching point of this article – slow down and show courtesy to other drivers and the gate guards who serve to keep the community safe.
The final set of numbers provided by DES highlighted the property protection and lifesaving actions of the installation’s Fire and EMS professionals. They responded to 1,547 emergency calls in 2021. Included in that number are 855 fire-related and 693 medical-related dispatches, and mutual aid requests in which they assisted counterparts in the local area.
DES shared details of three recent medical emergency responses that occurred on post to add insight about one important aspect of Fire and EMS operations. The following are summaries of those incidents:
• On Dec. 22, Fire and EMS rendered aid to a 65-year-old female in Fort Lee family housing who fell and was unresponsive. Using a field ECG, the emergency crew determined the individual’s heart rate had slowed to the point of putting her in danger of cardiac arrest. She was transported by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment and recovery.
• On Nov 16, crews responded to an emergency call in an administrative building and discovered a 60-year-old female in cardiac arrest. The EMTs began CPR with a bag valve mask to restore breathing. A defibrillator was applied to shock the patient’s heart. Lifesaving actions continued aboard the ambulance on the way to the hospital. During a follow-up check the next day, the emergency crew learned the patient was in the ICU and recovering.
• On July 27, the first responders rolled out for an emergency call in family housing where a woman had gone into labor. The trained paramedics recognized there was no time for transport to a medical facility and assisted with on-site delivery. The patient and her newborn were subsequently transported to Southside Regional Medical Center where the hospital staff determined it was a healthy delivery with no complications.
“Without question, members of this community can take comfort in the knowledge, skills and functional capabilities of our fire and emergency services team,” Fire Chief Phillip P. Wilkinson underscored. “When they’re not responding to calls, they’re training to hone their skills and earn additional certifications.”
They have recently participated in air rescue operations, vehicle extraction drills, Prehospital Trauma Life Support classes and HAZMAT response training, he noted. “Furthermore, they’re out there educating the community, particularly during October’s Fire Prevention Month observance. It’s a tremendous effort and they deserve this moment of acknowledgement.”
The final set of numbers DES shared are those the community can use to get law enforcement or emergency rescue assistance. The phone number for the military police desk is 804-734-7400. For all emergencies (fire, police, medical), call 911. To report domestic abuse issues, call 804-734-6378. The sexual assault hotline is 804-894-0029.