Fort McCoy News January 09, 2015

Entry control procedures change at Fort McCoy

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Fort McCoy entry procedures have changed as part of increased installation access control and security measures within the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Army.

Photo for entry control article
Officer Larry Huissen of the Fort McCoy Police Department checks a person's identification at the Fort McCoy Main Gate in December.

The installation began updating procedures when an operations order was received from Installation Management Command (IMCOM) in late November, said Fort McCoy Police Chief Robert Stapel.

"Implementing the changes is a process that includes updating our access control policy, so we are asking our customers to be patient and work with us as we help make Fort McCoy a more secure installation," Stapel said.

The new measures may increase traffic delays at access-control points for everyone entering the installation. Personnel who possess DOD identification (ID) cards will experience the shortest delays. "The new procedures mostly affect people who are not DOD ID card holders, such as visitors, contractors and volunteers," Stapel said.

Day passes are the most common type of pass provided at Fort McCoy. Previously, people issued day passes to the installation had a federally recognized form of ID scanned through a basic query to the FBI National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

"The basic query would check driver records, vehicle registration information and information about warrants and protection orders," Stapel said.

Now, the background check must be run through the NCIC Interstate Identification Index (III). This check provides basic information as well as criminal history record information. "The processing time for visitors and contractors (who get day passes) is going to take noticeably longer," Stapel said.

According to IMCOM, visitors with issues such as an outstanding arrest warrant, recent felony conviction, those who are registered sex offenders or have inability to verify individual identity, or are listed in the Terrorist Screening Database will be denied access, and, if appropriate, will be turned over to legal authorities. Essentially, any individual identified through the screening process who may present a threat to good order, discipline or morale of the installation will be denied access.

While the basic NCIC query provided an almost instantaneous response, the NCIC III query takes longer to process if it reveals any criminal history. "It requires somebody to analyze data and make a determination for access to the installation," Stapel said.

Processing time for customers receiving a Fort McCoy day pass might range between 15 and 30 minutes, said Mark Reaves of the Directorate of Emergency Services Physical Security Office. The time may be longer during a rush-hour period, such as between 7 and 8 a.m., when people are reporting for work.

Stapel asks that customers who know they'll need to get a day pass to factor in the extra time it will take.

"We have the capability to issue passes at the Main Gate and Gate 20," Stapel said. "Some customers may be asked to park off to the side or pull around to a parking area so we can process the transaction and issue the pass."

Reaves further distinguished between two types of access to Fort McCoy — escorted and unescorted.

"Escorted access means somebody has sponsored you and vouched for you, and they are with you while on the installation, or they are at the gate to meet you and accompany you to your destination on post," Reaves said.

When escorted access is granted through what is known as the Trusted Traveler Program, the visitor is escorted by the person who has a DOD affiliation, such as a DOD ID card holder. The sponsoring entity is responsible for the visitor the entire time they are on Fort McCoy.

Escorted visitors older than age 18 will be required to show a valid ID prior to entering the installation. Examples of valid ID include a driver's license, passport or passport card, state or local government-issued ID card and related federally recognized forms of ID.

Generally, most federally recognized IDs contain a photograph and biographic information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color and address.

Unescorted visitors who do not have DOD-affiliation must complete the screening process and secure a pass.

Reaves said units or personnel sponsoring people for more than a day also should consider working with the Physical Security Office to have passes prepared ahead of time.

"If you know a visitor will be at Fort McCoy for more than a day, consider filling out a Fort McCoy Form 451 and sending it to our office five days ahead of the visit to process," Reaves said.

The Form 451 records all information necessary to complete an NCIC III background check. By submitting it early for a known visit, passes can be ready when the visitor arrives. "This alleviates the extra processing time it takes to get a day pass, and streamlines our workload as well," Reaves said.

Stapel added, "Supervisors for new employees at Fort McCoy also should submit a Form 451 to Physical Security to assist those new employees secure a pass that is valid for up to 30 days. They can use the pass for access until they get a common access card issued to them."

For Fort McCoy contractors who have regularly received day passes in the past, Reaves said they should consider enrolling in the RAPIDGate system. RAPIDGate has been in effect at Fort McCoy since 2010, and provides vendor-access services at the installation.

"A company that has business at Fort McCoy will fill out a form with the RAPIDGate contractor, who then inputs all the information and forwards the request to my office," Reaves said. "We'll confirm all the (necessary) information and work with RAPIDGate to complete the process."

After a company is verified in RAPIDGate and registration fees are paid, the company's employees then go to one of the two kiosks at building 35 and get registered. Those employees also go through the NCIC III background check; when verified, they are issued a RAPIDGate card by Reaves' office.

Additional updates to entry control procedures may occur in the future, Stapel said, and the Fort McCoy community will be made aware of those changes as they take place. "We are committed to process improvement, and we'll continue to refine this new process to better serve our customers," he said.

For more information about the entry control changes to Fort McCoy, call Physical Security at 608-388-3794.