By Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing, Public Affairs staff writer
CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. — Police chiefs, sheriffs and FBI agents along with Air Force and Army installation security forces made up the more than 40 officials attending the monthly police collaborative meeting, which was hosted for the first time at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station Sept. 5.
“Our ability to fight crime depends on the strength of our relationship with our community, law enforcement and citizens,” said Col. Travis Harsha, 721st Mission Support Group commander and CMAFS installation commander. “These meetings strengthen that relationship, foster information sharing and maximize joint training opportunities.”
The purpose of these meetings is to maintain and reinforce communication and information sharing between the many different law enforcement agencies in the Pikes Peak region. Colorado Springs and the surrounding area is unique when it comes to military partnerships, hosting five installations.
“Air Force installations participate because we are part of the community; we need to stay plugged in. To use an old adage — It’s not what you know, it’s who you know — we can’t afford to conduct our business in a vacuum,” said Maj. James Serra, 721st Security Forces Squadron commander. “We need to be innovative with the resources we have at our disposal.”
With the recent major wildfires in the area, Waldo Canyon and Black Forest, law enforcement, fire and emergency response agencies have taken great care to ensure all of the departments in the region, including military installations, maintain their collaborative and supporting ties.
“Sometimes knowledge is our greatest asset and sharing information pays huge dividends, especially when it comes to terrorist, criminal threats and basic community awareness,” said Serra.
After the conclusion of the meeting, attendees were given the opportunity to take a short tour of the mountain complex to learn more about the critical mission that is ongoing beneath the granite slope.
After passing through security, the small tour group was escorted through the 25 ton blast-doors where they were introduced to Earl Clelland, 721st Civil Engineer Squadron power systems mechanic, who gave the guests a walking tour of the mechanics of the mountain that have kept it mission-ready for more than 45 years.
For many of the officials in attendance, this meeting was their first visit to the mountain air station, or even the secluded road leading from the highway to the main gate.
“One law enforcement officer who attended the collaborative event lived in Colorado Springs for 48 years and never knew we existed,” said Serra.
“I really enjoy hearing about the experiences that our fellow law enforcement professionals have to share. Sometimes they can be entertaining, and often they can be a sobering wake-up call,” said Serra. “But I never fail to learn something and I really look forward to the camaraderie.”