Whether intentional or due to distracted driving, Fort Belvoir gate runners can face serious consequences. Penalties can range from apprehension and legal charges to losing your security clearance, or even being barred from post. (Photo by Paul Lara, Garrison Public Affairs)

Fort Belvoir Gate Runners Create Risk, Face Consequences

Gate Runners, be aware!

Not abiding to policy at Fort Belvoir’s Access Control Points increases risk of injury and can impede further driving access on the installation, according to COL Joseph Messina, Garrison Commander.

“This is a force protection and safety issue,” COL Messina said. “A safe and secure community is our number one responsibility, which includes not only the residents and workers on the installation, but also the Soldiers and Department of the Army Security Guards manning the gates.”

Whether it is an intentional act, or distracted driving, such as looking down at GPS guidance, the result is the same: it poses an immediate threat to the installation and the Soldier or Guard at the gate has to respond in a split second. Denial barrier systems at the gate are activated, preventing access from not only the suspicious driver, but also everyone approaching the gate. It also endangers drivers approaching the barriers at the moment it is activated and can cause vehicle damage and serious personal injury to uninvolved motorists.

To protect the installation and other drivers, once the barrier is activated, the gate may be closed more than an hour while the infraction is investigated. According to Boyd Hodges, Director, Fort Belvoir Directorate of Emergency Services, there are several things you can do when approaching any gate to ensure smooth access:

·         At night or twilight, turn off your headlights

·         In the rain, turn off your windshield wipers

·         WAIT to be acknowledged by the guard

·         Proceed only after the guard has scanned your ID and approved your entry.

Disregarding gate protocols has serious consequences. Penalties can range from being apprehended and charged with unlawful entry, to losing your security clearance, or even being barred from post.

The Army’s 'People First' philosophy isn't just a slogan; it's a commitment to the well-being of each individual within the community. Just as every soldier is trained to leave no one behind on the battlefield, it's imperative that we ensure no one is left vulnerable in our security at home. With families, school busses and children transiting the installation, increased vigilance and consistent ID checks are not just bureaucratic necessities—they are essential components of a cohesive, secure community.

by Paul Lara, Fort Belvoir Public Affairs Specialist