First Responders: All Secure

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kristina Overton
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office
Editors Note: This is part three of a four part series highlighting the teams that make up the first responder units.

The day started out just like any other day for the Security Forces patrolman, sitting in his squad car with his radar pointed at the passing vehicles. He routinely does walking patrols and perimeter checks around the base to ensure installation security and the safety of its personnel, but most of his days are quiet like this one. All of a sudden a voice sounds on the radio.

"Dispatch to all post patrols, emergency in progress. Stand-by for response."

After a call is made to a 9-1-1 dispatch facility, the information is recorded and then distributed to corresponding agencies, part of an immediate process first-responders initiate to resolve emergency situations on base.

Whether it's conducting their day-to-day responsibilities or responding to a base emergency, on Malmstrom, the duties of a Security Forces patrolman never changes. Their job is always to protect and serve.

"What a patrolman would do in the event of an emergency is determined by the type of emergency," said Staff Sgt. Steven Harper, 341st Security Forces Squadron member. "They could be out there doing anything from setting up a cordon and evacuating buildings to clearing roadways and assisting victims. Their main purpose is to provide security on the installation and defend the Air Force's resources from weapons to personnel."

There are six response vehicles available on the installation to include the K-9 unit. At one time, up to three vehicles may be conducting patrols.

"We're usually the first to arrive on scene," said Staff Sgt. Stephen Berry, 341st SFS patrolman. "We do the immediate assessment of the situation and determine the appropriate measures for whatever the conditions may dictate."

The base Security Forces also work side-by-side with other agencies on the installation, such as the Office of Special Investigations and the Fire Department, to effectively resolve emergencies.

"We work with OSI when there is a crime scene or something that requires further investigation," Sergeant Berry said. "We may set up the initial crime scene by taping off the area, take notes and log evidence, take pictures and even collect statements from witnesses. With the Fire Department we normally support them by clearing out the affected areas, control vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and provide any other security support they may need to effectively complete their mission."

Some of the other emergency response calls that Security Forces can respond to include bomb threats, alarm activations, suspicious packages, hijackings, domestic cases and secured facility break-ins.

"Everyone, in a time of crisis, looks for the shield, the badge or the beret," said Tech. Sgt. Amanda Dofflemeyer, 341st SFS patrolman. "Knowing that we have a very strong, competent and reliable Security Forces team helps to reassure the base that in an emergency situation we'll do our upmost to restore their security and safety."

Security Forces patrolmen typically work more than 14-hour shifts to ensure the base is protected, and make certain that, in the event of an emergency, they are fully prepared to engage and neutralize any incidents on the base.

"The outcome of emergency situations is dependent on the timeliness of the first responders," Sergeant Dofflemeyer said. "If the fire department doesn't respond quickly then a house or a building may burn down. If medical response isn't punctual then injuries could turn into something more serious. If law enforcement takes their time arriving on scene, the security of the base could be jeopardized, or it could result in the loss of weapons or equipment. People on the installation rely on what we do, and it's a good feeling to be able to provide that constant reassurance that the base is all secure."