Fort McCoy News January 23, 2015

Visitor Control Center now open weekdays

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

The Visitor Control Center (VCC) has been reopened to assist with improving the process of issuing day passes and reducing congestion at the Main Gate, according to the Fort McCoy Police Department.

The VCC, located in building 35 near the Main Gate, is open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. "These are the peak times of the day where more people may require day passes as unescorted visitors," said Fort McCoy Chief of Police Robert Stapel.

VCC Photo
Sgt. Leo Gertz of the Fort McCoy Police Department works with a customer in the Visitor Control Center Jan. 14 in building 35 near the Main Gate. The Visitor Control Center has reopened to assist with processing for day passes at Fort McCoy.

In late 2014, the Army's Installation Management Command (IMCOM) implemented new entry control procedures to meet Department of Defense (DOD) requirements. People entering the post must possess a DOD identification (ID) card, such as a common access card, dependent ID card, or a military retiree card, or be issued a visitor pass.

Visitors also can be escorted by DOD ID card holders under the Trusted Traveler Program. The establishment of the VCC mainly helps those people who are not DOD ID holders, Stapel said.

"The primary focus of the VCC is to proof and vet unescorted access to Fort McCoy," Stapel said.

Day passes are the most-common type of pass provided at Fort McCoy. People who are issued day passes have a federally recognized form of ID scanned through the FBI National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Interstate Identification Index (III). This check provides basic information as well as criminal history record information.

According to IMCOM, visitors with issues such as an outstanding arrest warrant, recent felony conviction, those who are registered sex offenders, have the 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.

"Having the VCC established will help us increase through-put times at the access control points (ACPs)," Stapel said. "The backlog we used to have with providing passes (to unescorted visitors) at the ACPs will no longer occur as they will now have to report to the VCC during those peak hours."

When the VCC is closed at non-peak times, from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. and on weekends, unescorted visitors will continue to be issued passes at ACPs at the Main Gate and Gate 20.

Since implementation of the new entry procedures, Stapel said the Fort McCoy community is becoming more aware of what they need to do.

Soon, he said, more accessible information about the entry control procedures will be available to the entire community.
Mark Reaves, chief of the Physical Security Office at the Directorate of Emergency Services, said units or personnel sponsoring people for more than a day should work with the office to have passes prepared ahead of time through the use of a Fort McCoy Form 451.

Forms should be sent to Physical Security at least five days prior to a visit.

The Form 451 records all information necessary to complete an NCIC III background check.

"Sending in a Form 451 early is especially helpful with special events because it helps installation access go much smoother," Stapel said. "It also helps us to be better prepared to meet any needs required for an event, such as parking availability."

More changes could take place to the installation access control procedures at any time. The Fort McCoy Police Department will continuously update the post community messages if any changes do occur, Stapel said.

"By early February we should have the new policy fully completed and signed," Stapel said. "Once that is done, we will get it out to all garrison and tenant units at the installation. We'll also have it made available to the public.

"We will continue to adapt to changes as needed," Stapel said. "We do appreciate everyone's cooperation and patience as we have gone through these current changes in requirements."

For more information about the entry control procedures, call Physical Security at 608-388-3794.