SFS has new kind of weapon
By Master Sgt. Art Webb, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 18, 2006
SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, NC --
The Goldsboro Police Department, the Wayne County Sheriff's Department and the 4th Security Forces Squadron have something in common. Not only do they both preserve the peace and enforce the law for the surrounding communities and the base, they also communicate with each other while doing so.
With the help of computer technology, base security forces can now log into a system to find out if a military member or a dependent has had a run-in with local law enforcement agencies. Anything, including domestic violence, traffic violations, arrest, or driving while intoxicated or under the influence is reported in this system and can be accessed.
"We have access to a system called Pistol, which tracks traffic citations, incidents and arrests the local law enforcement agencies has logged into the system," said Daniel Hux, 4th SFS security assistant. "If anyone assigned to Seymour Johnson is involved in any of these incidents, we will know about it."
The system is a version of the nation's National Criminal Information Center, the NCIC, which provides a computerized database for a criminal justice agency requiring information in the system from other criminal justice agencies about crimes and criminals. Pistol has the same characteristics.
"Basically put, if a member is arrested or cited in Goldsboro, Mount Olive, Pikeville or Freemont, we'll find out about it," said Karl Burger, 4th SFS manager of reports and analysis. "Some people feel as though they don't have to report incidents, but sooner or later, they'll have to answer for their actions."
Every 12 hours, security forces personnel check with local law enforcement departments to see if military members have been jailed or cited.
"Every morning, I log onto the system and look to see if base personnel have been arrested. It seems that sometimes people have a tendency to not inform leaders when they've gotten in trouble downtown," Mr. Hux said.
Some of the characteristics that alert security forces personnel of military members in the system are age, address and employment--information collected by the officer at the time of the incident, which is then logged into Pistol.
Once security personnel log onto the system, they begin their search. If a name or address is suspicious, the information is then matched against the alpha roster to verify if the name in question is a person assigned to Seymour Johnson. "After their status is determined, we send the information through our channels, which eventually ends with the member's commander," Mr. Burger added.
Pistol is also a tool commanders can use to identify the behavior of personnel who may be at risk.
"We can usually go back through the history and find citations on individuals who were convicted of DWIs or DUIs," Mr. Hux said. "Most of these people had incidents prior to major violations."
In order to make this system work, the relationship between the local law enforcement and the base had to grow.
"We now have a direct feed to the system," Mr. Hux said. "The county's Sheriff's Department got us started, and we've come a long way since last year,' he added.
"We have a good relationship with the Goldsboro Police Department. We tie in a lot more, not only with Pistol, but in other ways as well," Mr. Burger said.
"Pistol has been a valuable asset to local law enforcement and we hope it will be a benefit to Seymour Johnson officials in regards to the monitoring of incidents involving military personnel assigned to Seymour Johnson," said Timothy Bell, Goldsboro police chief. "It has been our understanding that a major concern of base officials is personnel's involvement in traffic-related violations (DWI, speeding, traffic crashes, etc.). In our efforts to maintain safe roadways, reduce fatalities and injuries, as well as reduce crime, we are glad that Seymour Johnson has the opportunity to access our information conveniently and more efficiently."
"The whole purpose of this program is to stop something before it happens, said Mr. Burger. "Slow down and pay attention. If you don't, we'll find out about it."
"Another thing to remember," Mr. Hux added on, "We can reach out and touch you even if you're outside the county. So don't think we won't find out about it. The best thing to do is be safe and abide by the law."