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New officers monitor roadways, enforce laws at Arnold AFB

Department of the Air Force Police Officers pose for a photo Sept. 2, 2020, at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. Pictured are, from left, Officer Todd Malone, Officer Bill Hernandez, Sgt. Andy Scwegler, Sgt. George Blasingame, Officer Josh Brown, Officer Jennifer Curbow and Officer Derek Jones. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jill Pickett)

Department of the Air Force Police Officers pose for a photo Sept. 2, 2020, at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. Pictured are, from left, Officer Todd Malone, Officer Bill Hernandez, Sgt. Andy Scwegler, Sgt. George Blasingame, Officer Josh Brown, Officer Jennifer Curbow and Officer Derek Jones. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jill Pickett)

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. --

Leadfoots, beware.

A group of skilled officers now has eyes on the roads in and around Arnold Air Force Base, helping to ensure the safety of the workforce by enforcing adherence to speed limits and other regulations throughout the installation.

Department of the Air Force Police Officers have been patrolling Arnold since late August. The DAF Police Officer program is new to Arnold AFB, and the officers are part of the Arnold Security Forces Office.

“They are fully-trained and highly-qualified federal police officers employed by the United States Air Force,” said Arnold AFB Security Forces Chief Ray Kelly.

The officers have already been quite busy.

“Our DAF officers’ primary mission is to keep the roads of Arnold Air Force Base safe from traffic violators and dangerous drivers,” Kelly said. “The first week of patrolling garnered 19 traffic citations with an average speed of over 16.5 miles an hour over the posted speed limit, as well as passing on a double yellow line and failure to stop at a posted stop sign.”

While traffic is a focus of the DAF officers’ efforts, it is far from their only responsibility. The officers are also responsible for force protection and performing law enforcement functions on the base.

“All of the officers are engaged in installation patrol duties while serving as a deterrent to crime and other violations of laws, rules and regulations,” Kelly said. “Typically on Air Force bases worldwide, DAF officers are integrated with the Security Forces Defenders and can perform all aspects of force protection from installation access control to Base Defense Operations Center operations.”

Each DAF officer has received more than 280 hours of Security Forces training. All of the officers possess prior experience as military or civilian law enforcement officers and, according to Kelly, have brought with them a “wealth of law enforcement knowledge.”

Kelly said there is a goal to hire additional DAF officers soon to potentially allow for a 24/7 patrolling capability by the end of the year.

From Aug. 30 to Sept. 13, the DAF officers issued 41 total traffic citations. Thirty-five were for speeding. The average speed of those cited was 16.3 miles per hour over the posted limit. The highest overage among those cited was 22 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.

Four of the citations were for stop sign violations, one infraction was for passing on a double yellow line, and the remaining citation was for driving on a revoked license.

“To have Air Force police officers patrolling Arnold Air Force Base is the culmination of a great deal of preparation behind the scenes over the past few years,” said AEDC Commander Col. Jeff Geraghty. “From articulating to headquarters just how valuable DAF officers would be on Arnold AFB to advertising, hiring and training these professionals, team Arnold has invested deeply. I’m confident their presence will bolster Team AEDC’s commitment to safety and the rule of law, and I’m thankful for the men and women who put forth the extra effort to invest in our people this way.”