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OSI convenes with local law enforcement agencies for antiterrorism week

Aris, a military working dog, prepares to pounce on Staff Sgt. Samuel Beckett, who is playing the role of a suspect fleeing from Senior Airman Jesse Hall, during an antiterrorism awareness event hosted by the Office of Special Investigations here Sept. 14. Both Airmen and the dog are members of the 4th Security Forces Squadron.

Aris, a military working dog, prepares to pounce on Staff Sgt. Samuel Beckett, who is playing the role of a suspect fleeing from Senior Airman Jesse Hall, during an antiterrorism awareness event hosted by the Office of Special Investigations here Sept. 14. Both Airmen and the dog are members of the 4th Security Forces Squadron.

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- "All of us need to think differently about how to defend America and how to defend freedom," Col. Steve Kwast, 4th Fighter Wing commander, said to approximately 200 law enforcement officers assembled at the annual Law Enforcement Liaison hosted by the Air Force Office of Special Investigation September 14.

Law enforcement officers from across eastern North Carolina joined servicemembers from the 4th FW and the 916th Air Refueling Wing on base for the key event of this year's Wing Antiterrorism Awareness Week.

"OSI's goal with this event is to set the foundation in this process by meeting with our fellow law enforcement counterparts, to let them know what we can do for them, and in turn, we learn what they can do for us," said Special Agent Kary Boyle, AFOSI Detachment 216.

Colonel Kwast emphasized the need for a strong relationship between law enforcement agencies and military personnel. He offered to provide base resources when needed and encouraged attendees to abandon Cold War-era thinking to adapt to today's enemies.

"All of this transformation that we, as a nation have to make to beat the war on terror, starts in the creativity and ingenuity of your minds," he said. "We can only help you, if you share that with us."

The wing commander's words did not fall on deaf ears.

"It's good to see we have someone here who will back us up," said Sergeant Margaret Landon of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, a former Marine. "We are one big community."

The event provided an opportunity to showcase some of the resources Seymour Johnson personnel use to fight terror and enforce the law. Highlights of the event included a small arms display, a flight on a KC-135R hosted by the 916th ARW, simulator and scenario training and a shotgun-firing competition.

Improving cooperation between law enforcement agencies from base and the federal, state and local community helps to ensure valuable leads are available to the agencies that need them.

"We want to increase awareness so that if something suspicious happens in their areas, they can call OSI," said Brian Tweed, OSI special agent in charge. "Who knows, it might be good intelligence."

Shared information and intelligence might just provide the key evidence to bring criminals and terrorists to justice or to disrupt malicious plans in progress.
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