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Homeland Security

Air Force security forces, DOD police collaborate to keep joint base secure

by Staff Sgt. Danielle Johnson
305th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

9/29/2009 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. (AFNS) -- Department of Defense police at Naval Air Engeneering Station Lakehurst and Fort Dix will merge into the Air Force security forces squadron at McGuire Air Force Base effective Oct. 1 as part of an ongoing joint base effort. Officials said this merger will ensure a seamless and secure transition to the new Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, which the Air Force will lead.

"We are currently identifying the best practices from each organization and applying those practices where feasible," said Master Sgt. Robert Richards of the 87th Security Forces Squadron Joint Base Integration Office. "The emphasis must always be placed on the protection of resources and security of the entire joint base community."

Joint base security officials previously have initiated joint patrols and responses as a way of training security personnel and familiarizing them with tactics and procedures. In the process, officials also are identifying areas in which each service has more reliable and efficient practices than incorporating them into day-to-day operations.

An added challenge is the size of the installation, which measures approximately 20 miles from east to west.

"Integrated base defense and owner-user responsibilities across the installation become even more important as our area of responsibility expands from 3,600 acres (at McGuire AFB) to 42,000 acres," said Maj. James Coleman, 87th Security Forces Squadron executive officer.

Despite the installation-wide changes to security operations, base personnel and visitors should notice minimal changes when entering, leaving or working at the installation. Officials will maintain current base access procedures during the transition to joint base operations, but will continually review, evaluate and recommend security improvements to the Joint Installation Security Council as concerns or threats are identified.

"A lot of hard work has gone into making the 87th SFS a truly integrated unit," Sergeant Richards said. "The base populace can expect to see posts throughout the installation with a mix of personnel -- including military and civilians from all branches (of the military) -- working together. Integration will be seen from the installation entry points and patrols, all the way to our senior leadership. Along with integration, comes the vast array of experience that comes with a diverse workforce. This experience will make the 87th SFS the premier joint base security force."

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