By Jim Hughes, Command Information OfficerMay 24, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 24, 2012) -- Fort Rucker will start using a new post access control system May 30 that both enhances security and simplifies the entry process for visitors to the installation.
The post entered into a contract for the Rapid RCx system that allows security officials to better monitor who enters the post and when, and also prevents those who should not be on post from gaining access, according to John Tkac, Directorate of Public Safety chief of physical security.
When people come on post May 30, security guards will scan their IDs at seven gates: Daleville, Enterprise, Ozark, Newton and Faulkner, and also at Shell and Cairns airfields, Tkac said.
Once the IDs are scanned, information contained on the identification is run through several open source databases that will alert guards to people with issues such as warrants out for their arrests, being on terrorist watch lists and other problems, such as revocation of post driving privileges and being on the installation debarment list, Tkac said.
"Right now, the only time we catch people on those (latter) two lists is when they go through the inspection area," he said. "This system will notify guards right away if the person is on one of those lists."
The system also validates people's IDs and alerts guards to fraudulent identification, he added. And the process is near-instantaneous.
"The scanning process is sub-two seconds," he said. "The guard will swipe the ID and within two seconds will have a response back on whether things are good to go or if there is an issue."
The types of IDs the system can scan include Common Access Cards, Department of Defense, retired military and dependent ID cards, and all U.S. and Canadian drivers licenses, the security chief said.
People should still use the same IDs they used previously to gain access to the post -- people with military IDs and CACs should present them when approaching the gate, and visitors should use drivers licenses. People wanting to enter the post without a scannable ID, such as a passport, will need to go to the inspection area for entry, Tkac said.
The biggest change to procedure will be with visitors, he said. Previously, visitors had to enter post through the inspection areas of the gates. Now, they just pull up to the guards and present their drivers licenses.
He warned, though, that the new system does not mean that visitors will never be asked to go through the inspection area, as random measures will still be taken. Inspections will also be done on high-risk vehicles, such as panel vans and delivery trucks whose occupants do not possess a Rapid Gate credential or valid military ID.
Tkac advises everyone to have their vehicle registration, proof of insurance and ID at the ready when entering post.
"It's a good system. I think people visiting the installation will probably like it because they're not required to go through the inspection area every time," Tkac said. "And on the installation side, it's a great tool because we can reach out and check other sources -- bounce people's identification off of the databases to see if they are wanted or are criminals."
The system also comes with options for security officials to use to monitor who's coming on post and how often they are coming on, he said.
While the system is fast, and security guards received hands-on training with the creators of the system, Tkac admits there may be a learning curve while personnel adjust to the system.
"We'll be out there closely monitoring things and have plans in place to minimize the effect at peak traffic times -- we don't want to hold up traffic while everyone adjusts to the system," he said.
But the system is pretty user friendly, according to Marvin Brandon, chief of the Department of the Army security guards.
"The guards received training, were able to ask the subject matter experts questions about the new system and did some trial runs at some of the gates," he said. "The system looks a lot like the scanners you see at a grocery store. The guards scan the ID, and it either comes up green that they're good to go, or alerts them to an issue that security needs to look into further."
Fort Rucker isn't the first to order the system, as Tkac said Fort Drum, N.Y., and Fort McCoy, Wis., have been using it for a while, with rave reviews on the system.
"I spoke to the security people at Drum and they said there was no difference in the time to get on the installation -- they really like it," he said.