F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE – When most people hear security forces, they probably think about the defenders that patrol the base in their police vehicles. Along with the gate guards, these men and women are the first faces you see when you arrive on the installation, and you continue to see them around the base enforcing the law.
I had the opportunity to do a “Ride Along” with one of our base law enforcement defenders, Staff Sgt. Charles Watson, 90th Security Forces Squadron patrolman. I got to see first-hand what a typical day looks like for our base defenders.
The day starts bright and early with guard mount, where they will pass on any relevant information from previous shifts. Then, it’s time to hop in the truck and start the day.
As I sat down, I couldn’t help looking to the back seat and thinking how I never want to find myself sitting there under different circumstances. But I was also excited to check out all of the equipment in the vehicle and see what the day would bring.
“On a typical day we do patrols, housing checks, secure the railroad and perform traffic enforcement to ensure the safety of personnel and property on this installation,” Watson said. “We’re also the first responders to any emergency on base. We’ll always arrive before the firefighters or paramedics.”
While driving around the base, Watson was called to respond to an alarm that was set off in the weapons storage area. Without hesitation, he flicked on the lights and sirens, and we were off!
When we arrived at the building, there were three defenders ready to search the area with the help of one of the K-9s. After everything had been declared clear, we were back in the vehicle headed to our next destination.
We arrived at the main gate, and I had the chance to speak with one of our sharp defenders, Senior Airman Markus Matthews, 90th SFS entry controller.
Staff Sgt. Stephen Canyon, 90th Security Force Squadron patrolman, conducts a search of a truck at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., July 14, 2017. Commercial vehicles must be searched before they are granted access to the installation. Photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Carter
“The patrolmen assist us with random vehicle inspections, minor vehicle accidents, DUIs and any other incidents that may occur,” said Matthews. “I think Staff Sgt. Watson is the best patrolman on our flight, and he’s a great supervisor.”
Watson also works in the Base Defense Operations Center, which consists of dispatching patrols, monitoring alarms for different facilities and just being the center of security forces operations on base. He’s been a patrolman for six years, and he says he enjoys the job.
“The workload is challenging at times with paperwork and trying to make time for training, but I love this job,” Watson said. “I have a passion for law enforcement, and it’s gratifying to help people and be the first to respond to a situation.”
At the end of the day, it was evident to me that our defenders on base are well-trained and equipped to carry out their mission. So don’t be upset when you get pulled over or have to go through a random vehicle inspection. These men and women work tirelessly to defend this base and its personnel.
TOP PHOTO: Staff Sgt. Richard Garcia, 90th Security Forces Squadron dog handler, walks back with his K-9 after doing a security check in a building at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., July 14, 2017. Defenders from the 90th SFS are alerted by the Base Defense Operations Center when any alarms go off on base. Photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Carter