By Reginald Rogers/ParaglideMarch 3, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - On Friday, the Fort Bragg military police were responsible for 99 traffic citations, three towed vehicles, three apprehensions for possession of marijuana and Spice in Linden Oaks housing area and two more apprehensions for possession of Spice at the All-American Expressway.
But according to officials involved, it was a slow night.
Their effort was part of Operation Enforce Standards, a monthly initiative to ensure that Fort Bragg is a safe and law-abiding community.
The operation began at 11 a.m. Friday and also included MPs from the 82nd Airborne Division. The operation ended at 10 p.m. During that time, the MPs set up multiple traffic checkpoints to check for driver's licenses, proper registration, insurance and cell phone violations. They also had speeding checkpoints on the All-American expressway, to catch drivers who exceeded the speed limit.
According to Maj. Daniel Bjorklund, who was in charge of both strike teams that participated for the Provost Marshal's Office, the theme of the day was zero tolerance, as traffic violations were not their only interest. In addition to monitoring traffic flow during the evening commute, the MPs conducted housing area saturation later Friday night. This was done to ensure compliance within the post's various housing areas.
"Basically what we do is saturate different areas of the installation at certain time periods," Bjorklund explained. "We maximize based on trends, some analysis and we saturate these areas to prevent, deter and enforce the standards."
He explained that the MPs are divided into strike teams. Friday's event included two strike teams, but according to Bjorklund, the PMO usually features three teams during the operation.
"Generally we run three strike teams that are at least 10 deep," he said. "You can imagine 30 police officers at one time in a certain area. It gives you an idea of the volume that we can handle."
Bjorklund said the PMO averages about 200 actions during the monthly Operation Enforce Standards events. These actions include any violations, citations or events that are documented during the shifts.
"We tell our guys there is zero tolerance, there are no verbal warnings. We want them cited because basically, we want to take back the streets of Fort Bragg," Bjorklund said. "We also have a nixle.com website that allows us to put the information out 24 hours in advance that we are having the operation. If we had more community members to register with nixle, they would have a little more lead time on the events."
Bjorklund said the number of Fort Bragg's people who are registered to nixle is a little more than 40.
He explained that nixle is a law-enforcement information channel from the police department to the public. He encouraged residents to register so that they could receive automatic updates as to what's going on in their local communities.
As for OES, Bjorklund said they were writing numerous citations for motorists speeding through the construction zone on the All American expressway.
"Both teams this morning have written 43 citations between (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.)," he said. "We know that at least 21 of them are speeding on the All-American in the construction zone. That's a $250 fine, plus a $25 processing fee. So 21 people today, at least at that point, will pay a $275 ticket."
Bjorklund said generally the public has been polite about receiving their citations, despite the cost.
Even the post's provost marshal, Col. Mary Maier was on the street during the operation. She, along with Fort Bragg Police Chief Calvin Prouty, observed officers near the All-American expressway access control point.
"The operation is designed to ensure that the residents on Fort Bragg are safe and secure," Maier explained. "We've set up a compliance checkpoint for registration, license, insurance and safety of vehicles. We also do speed enforcement and we'll do sweeps through parking lots to ensure that vehicles are secure and that there is not equipment, such as TA-50 stored in vehicles. It's designed to make things safe."
Maier said the operation was successful.
"It's going very good," she said. "We've found less than we found the last time. Each time that we come out it's a little bit less so the residents of Fort Bragg are starting to become aware and that's the goal - behavior modification."
Capt. Sean Doyne served as the patrol commander during Friday's event. Doyne was the individual who was in charge of all the patrols on the road and the MP desk, which receives all calls for the MPs, as well as the traffic section which services all the traffic on post. Doyne said on an average night, he is responsible for at least 18 MPs and three to four Department of the Army civilian police officers.
"Tonight's a little different. Tonight we have about 15 or 20 more Soldiers and that's just to support Operation Enforce Standards, which is the garrison commander's initiative," he said.
Doyne said Friday featured less traffic than previous OES operations, but the MPs were no less productive.
"We've written quite a few speeding tickets and speeding in work zone citations," Doyne explained. "Here we are at the All-American ACP and we're getting quite a few speeders coming on post."
The All-American operation works like this: An MP with a laser-pointed radar, called a Linar sets up at the bridge that is about a half a mile from the ACP. With the Linar, he is able to "pin-point" speeding vehicles and record their speed and distance of travel at that speed. He radios that information back to numerous MPs waiting in vehicles near the ACP and once they receive the description of the vehicle, the officers can make the traffic stop.
During the housing saturation phase of OES, the strike teams go into Fort Bragg's housing communities and take care of what Bjorklund called "non-standard" issues."
These can range from tagging abandoned vehicles, going into community centers to ensure that kids are the right age and are allowed to be there," he said. "But we still keep the mindset of speed enforcement and the other laws that we enforce. We try to get into the communities to provide a safe environment for the people who live there."
In several instances, MPs found several youths who were in the community centers, but a few of them failed to carry the proper identification. This prompted the MPs to call their parents to verify their ages and if they were allowed to be in the centers.
The MPs said parents should encourage their children to carry their ID cards at all times.
Bjorklund said OES allows supervisors like himself, Prouty and Doyne to get out on the streets with the other officers.
"It also allows us to see what our organization is doing and how we're training our people," he said. "We actually get to see the fruits of our labor. It's a good feeling knowing that our training program is working and that we have young, ambitious officers who want to do good and they want to represent the organization and Fort Bragg in a positive way."
"Overall it was a good night. The guys worked very, very hard and these are the results," Prouty said at the end of the operation. "Fort Bragg is a better place."