Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Keep ‘things’ from happening

(U.S. Air Force/file photo)
A 21st Security Forces Squadron member speaks with community members while conducting a patrol of the Peterson AFB housing area. The 21st SFS uses community policing and other proactive approaches to minimize crime on base.

By Katherine Hammer

21st Security Forces Squadron

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — We frequently measure success in the Air Force, and oftentimes life in general, by numbers. We look at measurable statistics, like numbers and dollars, to determine how well we did. Earlier this year, former fifth Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor visited Peterson Air Force Base. As a prior security police member, Gaylor met with members of the 21st Security Forces Squadron and said something that resonated with many SFS Airmen. Referring to the quantification of success, he mentioned that at least with regard to measuring the success of policing efforts, we must be measuring what hasn’t happened.

Members of the 21st SFS work every day to keep “things” from happening. We take a proactive, rather than reactive approach to keeping criminal activity off the installation through the utilization of various innovative policing techniques, including community policing, problem-oriented policing, and intelligence-led policing.

You might be familiar with the term “community policing,” which is the use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to find the root causes of issues that impact crime and disorder. It is based on collaborative efforts between policing organizations and those in the community they serve, by ultimately aligning various organizational elements that foster such partnerships. Community policing is a proactive approach for identifying problems through evaluation of an issue. The 21st SFS employs aspects of community policing in a variety of ways by dedicating patrols to housing sectors, conducting bike and foot patrols, attending town hall meetings, educating the public, and making great efforts to foster community relations. Our goal is to ensure Peterson Air Force Base residents, employees, and visitors always feel as safe as possible.

Another tool available to law enforcement agencies is the problem-oriented policing method. This particular approach examines different aspects of criminal activity at very basic levels. The idea is to find new solutions by taking an extremely close look at the tiniest aspects of any crimes or acts of disorder, ultimately meeting the PoP method goal of reducing crime. When examining recurring crimes, this method encourages the use of hyperanalyzation. The PoP method was used earlier this year, when there was a significant increase in the reports of larcenies occurring at the fitness center. Members of the 21st SFS broke down the problem (the recurring thefts) in its basic form and analyzed who the likely offenders were, likely targets (victims) and likely places. Rather than target the offenders, 21st SFS simply made the fitness center a less desirable target.

Finally, intelligence-led policing involves a fusion cell, and is a relatively new technique used by many law enforcement agencies. The concept includes the formation of a collaborative effort between multiple agencies wherein the use of problem-solving techniques leads to a variety of data that is available, improving the ability to deploy resources at the tactical level. The 21st SFS leads an intelligence-fusion comprised of representatives from security forces, intelligence, anti-terrorism, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. They meet weekly, share information, and discuss trends not only on Peterson AFB, but also throughout the local community and nation. Through this cell, we are able to maximize the efforts of each of organization, producing an intelligence report that ultimately prevents or reduces criminal activities.

The 21st SFS strives to maintain Peterson AFB’s status as the best place to visit, work, and live by keeping personnel and property safe through a combination of innovative means. We measure success not just in dollars and charts, but also in what we prevent on a daily basis.

As always, to report a crime on Peterson Air Force Base, call 556-4000. In the event of an emergency, dial 911.

To Top