Scan to pass: ID scanners enhance security

Bobby Watts, Goodfellow Air Force Base security guard, scans a military ID Jan. 28 at the base's north entrance. Base security personnel will randomly use the scanner in order to verify a person's authorization to enter the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Luis Loza Gutierrez)

Bobby Watts, Goodfellow Air Force Base security guard, scans a military ID Jan. 28 at the base's north entrance. Base security personnel will randomly use the scanner in order to verify a person's authorization to enter the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Luis Loza Gutierrez)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- If deadly weapons, Military Working Dogs with sharp teeth, stern looks and a "not on my watch" mentality weren't enough of a deterrent for people trying to enter Goodfellow Air Force Base without authorization, then not to worry as 17th Security Forces Squadron has another tool to go along with their arsenal, although it won't sound like a M-16 assault rifle firing off a round or a siren drowning out the music of your car stereo. No, the only thing people will probably hear from this new security tool is a tiny bip similar to the one a person hears at a cash register when shopping at a grocery store.

Since November 2007, base security personnel have been using high-tech ID scanners at the base's main points of entry.

"This tool is what we call a force multiplier," said Staff Sgt. Justin Mitchell, 17 SFS trainer. "It's like having a person running checks on five different computers at one time, searching for any information to identify possible threats," he added.

The system is designed to scan Department of Defense ID cards, driver's licenses and passports. It can identify fake IDs as well as lost, stolen, terminated and expired ID cards. It can also identify individuals whose installation access privileges have been revoked or suspended, individuals who have previously been denied access to the installation, and individuals being sought by law enforcement as be-on-the-lookout suspects or terrorist suspects.

Although the ID scanners provide security personnel with significant advantages in comparison to the traditional way of checking IDs visually, Sergeant Mitchell said guards at the base entry points will continue to use both methods.

"Since the attacks of 9/11 and our nation's continuing fight against terrorism, American military installations have implemented numerous security measures in order to ensure that both its assets and people are better protected. The use of ID scanners on this and other military installations is just one of those measures," said Sergeant Mitchell.