Two joint town halls addressing child safety on military installations were held Monday and Tuesday at Ramstein’s Hercules Theater and Vogelweh Military Complex’s Galaxy Theater.
Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, KMC and 3rd Air Force commander, hosted both town halls, which were open to all members of the KMC. The town halls were scheduled to address back to school and child safety.
“With school a week out, we wanted to address a couple community issues and concerns and give you an update on our ongoing child safety investigations,” Franklin said. “This is a joint team effort in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.”
Franklin was joined by Brig. Gen. C.K. Hyde, 86th Airlift Wing commander, representatives on behalf of Maj. Gen. Aundre F. Piggee, 21st Theater Sustainment Command commander, Dr. Dell McMullen, Kaiserslautern School District superintendent, as well as other senior leaders representing Security Forces, Legal, Army Advocacy, Airman and Family Readiness, Army Criminal Investigation Command and Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
In his opening, Franklin stressed the importance of bus safety. He urged parents to do the right thing when waiting for their child to get off the bus.
“Last year a child was hit by a bus,” he said, adding that steps could have been taken to prevent the accident. “Meet your child at the bus stop on the same side of the road at the stop.”
When returning for the new school year Monday, parents and children will see a difference in security measures.
Perimeter gates at the elementary and intermediate schools will be closed and locked, with a minimum number left open for parent access.
All elementary schools will close and lock all external doors, and control entry via 100 percent ID card checks and/or personal recognition. As children travel throughout the school grounds, they will travel in pairs. No child will travel alone.
Also, visitors must sign into the office and wear a badge that identifies them as a visitor. They must properly identify the reason for their visit to the school. Any adults other than school staff found on campus without a visitor badge will be stopped, identified and directed to check in at the main office and to request a badge.
In addition to highlighting changes in school policy, Franklin offered updates on previous child safety incidents. It was determined that the most recent reports were not linked to the previous child safety cases, and Franklin praised parents and the community for staying vigilant.
“The good news about this is the community is reporting any strange incident,” he said. “If in doubt, report it and we will investigate.”
Since the first town halls convened in May, all 14 tasks recommended by KMC residents have been completed.
Key projects included the $80,000 project to install locks on 50 stairwell basement hallways, $20,000 project installing hidden cameras around base, and neighborhood watch campaign headed by the 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron and the 86th Security Forces Squadron.
Although no children are missing from the community, Franklin highlighted that the command brought in the help of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“We are leaving no stone unturned,” Franklin said. “We have set up a task force, we are doing bike patrols, foot patrols, motorized patrols and joint community policing.”
With only six personnel trained for neighborhood watch on Ramstein and 15 for Vogelweh and Landstuhl, Franklin encouraged residents to get involved.
“Parents and the community are our best defense against these crimes,” he said. “Our law enforcement and investigators can’t be everywhere all the time; we need your help.”
Franklin closed with reassurance of his commitment to ongoing investigations.
“This is the No. 1 task on my plate as commander for this community,” he said. “For the remainder of my tenure here, I will not rest until these cases are solved.”
Neighborhood watch training is conducted monthly by the 86th SFS and 569th USFPS.
For details, call your local Police Services section: Ramstein, 478-2231 or 06371-405-2231, Vogelweh Landstuhl, 489-7501/7012 or 0631-536-7501/7012.
For more on current issues, reference the “Child Safety Updates” section on Livewire at www.ramstein.af.mil.livewire.asp or the “Hot Topics” section of the garrison website at www.kaiserslautern.army.mil. If you have information that may help investigators, call the joint task force tip line at 0171-745-5382.
Also read: Remember these bus safety do’s and don’ts