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Security forces to crack down on speeding

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Security forces personnel want drivers to go easy on the gas pedal for the new year.

Speed enforcement was one of the most significant traffic safety tools for the 10th Security Forces Squadron in 2009, accounting for more than 600 tickets and more than $30,000 in fines, said Bradley Wilson, chief of plans and programs for 10th SFS.

Speeders averaged 11 to 15 mph faster than the posted speed limit when they were cited, Mr. Wilson said. Based on those speeds, civilians paid an average of $75 for speeding tickets issued from the Air Force Academy.

In many cases, drivers received additional citations for driving without proof of insurance or vehicle registration, Mr. Wilson added.

"Most people aren't familiar with the legal ramifications of speeding on base," Mr. Wilson said. The Air Force maintains a database known as the Security Forces Management Information System, which records incidents, accidents and traffic violations that occur on base. Security Forces patrollers can use the system to view a driver's previous violations along with any outstanding warrants, whether the driver is military or civilian.

Air Force Instruction 31-204, "Air Force Motor Vehicle Traffic Supervision," and the Air Force Academy supplement to the AFI provide information on penalties for speeding and other driving violations on base. Points are assessed against drivers' licensesĀ and can result in revocation of on-base driving privileges or even driver's license suspensions. Speeding incurs anywhere from three to six points on a driver's license, depending on the driver's speed. Following too closely is a four-point violation, as is failing to yield right-of-way to an emergency vehicle, failing to stop for a school bus or failing to obey stop signs.

In addition, littering from a motor vehicle will incur an automatic 30-day suspension, Mr. Wilson said.

"Our fire danger in this part of the country is high, and even something as small as a cigarette butt can be devastating," he said. "We will strictly enforce littering from vehicles. We deal with brush fires on a regular basis, and when someone carelessly throws a cigarette butt out the window, they put everyone's safety at risk."

Civilians driving on base are subject to Colorado Revised Statutes, which the 10th SFS enforces with cooperation from the El Paso County Sherriff's Office, Mr. Wilson said. Civilian citations carry a standard fine assessed as set by the Colorado State Legislature.

"The Academy is a concurrent-jurisdiction installation, which means the sherriff's office can enter the installation and provide police services just as they do off base," Mr. Wilson said.

Because of unit deployments and operational requirements, the partnership with the El Paso County Sherriff allows the 10th SFS to carry out its law enforcement mission, he said. A standing memorandum of agreement with the sherriff's office delineates what type of assistance El Paso County will provide for different infractions.

"Security forces personnel face huge challenges meeting deployment requirements for operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom while still providing force protection and law enforcement for the Academy," which includes 18,500 acres, more than 10,000 employees and more than a million annual visitors, he said. "We ask everyone to do their part by following established traffic laws to create a safe, enjoyable working and living environment."

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