FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 17, 2012) -- A new system recently implemented at Fort Rucker allows some contractors and other service providers with regular business on post to more quickly and easily pass through the gate.

The system, called RAPIDGate, provides a way for employees of companies enrolled in the program to obtain credentials that allow them to skip the inspection lanes when coming on post, according to John Tkac, Directorate of Public Safety chief of physical security.

"The whole intent is that we're only letting the good guys on the installation," he explained. "We want to help keep the installation safe and secure by keeping the bad people off."

Enrollment in the program is not mandatory, but any company with regular business on post can sign up if it has a sponsor from an organization on post, Tkac said. For example, someone at the commissary could sponsor a company that makes regular deliveries to the store.

Eid Passport, the company that oversees the RAPIDGate system, conducts background checks on the companies' individual employees who have business on the installation to see if they qualify for the RAPIDGate ID card, Tkac said.

Once Eid Passport has vetted and approved the employee, the company will mail the card to the DPS office so the employee can pick it up, he said. The card is valid for one year; then it has to be renewed.

The RAPIDGate ID card looks similar to a military ID or Common Access Card in that it includes a photo and basic personal information, as well as the company name. It also works like the other two cards by giving the employee direct access to post, Tkac said.

It can also grant the employee access to other posts with the RAPIDGate system if the employee has business there as well, added Brian Bowman, physical security specialist.

"It works both ways," Tkac said. "It could allow them on or it could deny them. Just because you have it doesn't mean you can go to any installation automatically."

The cards can also be programmed to only allow access on certain days or during certain hours. "It's more of a surety measure for the installation," Bowman said, adding that there are also safety benefits for the enrolled companies.

One of those benefits is a regularly scheduled update of all the background checks, he said.

If a delivery truck driver goes out on a Friday night and gets a DUI, but doesn't tell his company, it won't be long before it shows up on the gate guard's scanner, he explained.

Another benefit of the system is the inclusion of fingerprints. If a gate guard doubts a cardholder's identity -- perhaps because of a change in hair color or drastic weight loss -- the guard can use a biometric scanner to check the person's fingerprints and verify their identity before allowing them through the gate, Bowman said.

The employee's fingerprints are collected during the enrollment process, Tkac added.

Only a few RAPIDGate ID cards have been issued at Fort Rucker since the system was implemented on April 30, but more are being processed, Tkac said. The enrollment process has been made easier by the addition of self-registering kiosks at each of the three main gates.

Eid Passport gives sponsored companies a code for employees to use when registering at the kiosks, he explained. The registration process includes providing basic personal information, taking a photo and fingerprinting.

"Once all that's put in at the kiosk, then Eid Passport will retrieve the information and go forward with that," he said, adding that there is a cost for a company to be enrolled in the program.

"It's not a mandatory thing," Tkac said. "People can still come on the installation. They just have to follow the procedures and come through the inspection lane. It's an option out there for those that want to streamline the process of getting on the installation, but the decision is left to the contractor."

Companies that service Fort Rucker may enroll in the RAPIDGate Program by calling 1-877-RAPIDGate.