Every Airman a sensor

  • Published
  • By Major Shannon Smith
  • 75th Air Base Wing Security Forces
Who likes cops? How many of you receive traffic tickets from law enforcement officers and think "Wow, I really appreciate that cop stopping me and citing my excessive speeding. He's just trying to keep me safe." Fat chance! Most probably react with something that sounds more like, "Stupid cop. Doesn't he have anything better to do than harass me, take my money and drive up my car insurance rates?" 

This is the dilemma caused by traditional policing techniques. The police sit back and wait for crime to happen, apprehend the offenders, and wait for more crime to happen. Meanwhile, the general public builds a healthy resentment for law enforcement officers, communication between the cops and the people they are commissioned to serve ceases, and criminal activity increases. With Community Oriented Policing as the vehicle, your 75th Security Forces Squadron is embarking on a different approach. 

The COP is a proactive approach to base safety and security that focuses on crime prevention through community engagement and partnerships. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, "The community policing model balances reactive responses to calls for service with proactive problem-solving centered on the causes of crime and disorder." Simply stated, base security forces seek to personally engage members of Team Hill to prevent crime. In essence, you become our partners, our "backup" if you will, to ensure Hill AFB is a safe and secure place to work and play. 

Does this mean security forces is going to stop writing traffic citations for egregious offenders, aggressively investigating criminal activity, or relax enforcing laws and regulations essential to mission success? Absolutely not. We owe it to you, the law abiding members of this great base community to keep the bad guys off base and behind bars. However, our goal is not to write as many tickets as possible or see how many crimes we can solve in a given period of time. Our goal is simple: we want to prevent crime across the board, from simple parking violations to terrorist attacks. However, we can't do that without you, our Team Hill partners in crime prevention. 

Throughout the coming weeks, you'll begin to see security forces personnel in situations you don't usually expect. You may be finishing up your yard mowing one evening in base housing and notice a young, sharp security forces Airman approaching on foot to strike up a conversation. This is your opportunity to let him or her know how the base police can better serve you. It is security forces' opportunity to get the pulse of the community, provide a positive presence among the people we serve, and seek information to proactively prevent crime versus reactively waiting for it to occur. More importantly, when conducted in conjunction with the Office of Special Investigation's Eagles Eyes initiative, a successful COP program increases the base police force by about 20,000 people. 

As security forces convinces Team Hill we're here to serve and not unduly harass just because we have the authority to do so, I firmly believe Team Hill will feel more comfortable reporting suspicious criminal or potential terrorist activity to their local friendly security forces Airman who stops by to chat on foot patrol. Together, we can ensure the Air Force's vision of "Every Airman a Sensor" becomes a reality and collectively make Hill AFB a safer, more secure place for all who live, work and play within its gates.