By Melina Rodriguez, Belvoir EagleNovember 30, 2006
Security guards on Fort Belvoir will be able to spot fake forms of identification and terrorist suspects with the swipe of a scanner at all access points in the near future.
"The change is being made to better screen visitors and other people who access the installation and to offset the loss of 40 percent of the contracted security guards," said Maj. Chris Butler, director of emergency services. "Based on funding, my goal is to have one of these systems per entry lane at all of the active gates."
The system is designed to scan Department of Defense ID cards, driver's licenses and passports. It can identify fake IDs; lost, stolen or terminated DoD cards; and expired IDs. It can also identify individuals whose installation access privileges have been revoked or suspended, individuals who have previously been denied access to the installation, and individuals being sought by law enforcement as be-on-the-lookout suspects or terrorist suspects.
"The system provides a comprehensive check of any type of ID that has a bar code or magnetic strip against a persons-of-interest-database including [individuals sought by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement]," Butler said. "It will take a shorter amount of time to verify the ID versus having the guard do it, and will provide an increased level of security."
All Fort Belvoir security guards are trained to use the new scanners and they are currently being used at the Tulley Gate visitor and commercial vehicle search point, Butler said.
The Directorate of Emergency Services will manage the system and train new guards who come to work at Fort Belvoir.
The Navy initially developed the scanning system, and many other installations are using similar technologies, including Fort Bragg.
"The Army is still trying to decide what type of automated access control system they want to field Army wide. The end result is that installations will have a minimum number of guards to monitor many automated systems," said Butler. "Compare this concept to the self checkout systems at Wal-Mart, there is one employee to monitor about four or five self checkout lanes."
Each scanner costs between $4,500 and $7,000, depending on the capabilities of the unit. The program is funded by money available under the Army's Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Program.