Checkpoints go beyond DUIs

by Master Sgt. Steve Horton
435th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

People entering Ramstein in the early morning hours Saturday were greeted with a surprise DUI and drug demand checkpoint operation conducted by the 435th Security Forces Squadron, the Drug Demand Reduction office, various first sergeants and volunteer non-commissioned officers.

The operation, dubbed Operation Night Hawk, was an initiative by 435th Air Base Wing Commander Col. Don Bacon and was meant to be a visible sign that base leadership take these types of offenses seriously.

“We have a zero tolerance for DUI and drug use in the KMC,” Colonel Bacon said. “This community deserves a safe, clean environment to live and work in everyday. Our Airmen deserve wingmen who maintain the highest standards, and it’s important to let everyone know that we will hold people accountable when they violate standards.”

During the operation, 100 active-duty personnel were directed to

provide a urine sample for the drug demand portion, and 108 motorists were checked for a DUI violation, resulting in zero apprehensions for DUI, said Capt. Keith Quick, 435th SFS operations officer.

“There is not a systemic problem within the KMC, but even a single DUI or drug offense is a problem,” Captain Quick said. “This is a proactive approach by base leadership and security forces to promote DUI and drug awareness so people think about it and make good decisions.”

Part of that proactive approach included a brief for commanders and first sergeants Jan. 27. They were educated on the newest street drugs such as Salvia divinorum, commonly known as Spice. The overall purpose of the brief was to help keep the leaders aware of current drug trends and paraphernalia, said Special Agent John Fox, Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 515.

“We don’t see these Airmen. The commanders, first sergeants and first-line supervisors see them all the time,” Agent Fox said. “They have to use the tools available to them, such as OSI, Drug Demand Reduction and the legal office.”

The awareness campaign isn’t just focused on active-duty military members, it also has made its way to the schools that dependent children attend, as well as civilians working on base. Recent investigations resulted in a dependent being barred from all military installations in Europe and two restaurant employees being fired for drug related offenses.

“The bottom line is that we will work to continue to provide safe and secure installations and the best schools possible for our children,” Colonel Bacon said. “And I want to ensure we are the best ambassadors possible to our great German hosts and neighbors.”