TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Tyndall Air Force Base occupies approximately 29,000 acres between the DuPont Bridge and Mexico Beach, Florida. Eighteen miles of public highway divides the base thus concurrent jurisdiction is shared with state law enforcement agencies.
Florida Highway Patrol and Bay County Sheriff’s office are only two of the many agencies partnering with Tyndall to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those on the installation and those traveling along U.S. Highway 98.
“These partnerships are a tremendous force multiplier for our Security Forces,” said Maj. Jordan Criss, 325th Security Forces Squadron commander. “Not only due to the necessity for mission generation, but also because we learn so much from one another and establish long lasting ties with the community as ambassadors of the U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense.”
Tech. Sgt. Miranda Mills, a 325th SFS investigator, explained traffic, speed and DUI enforcement are several ways local law enforcement contributes to the installations safety efforts. While ensuring the roadways are quickly returned to a safe operating status after a major motor vehicle accident, each department must be able to depend on each other.
While traffic enforcement is a primary focus between the agencies, local law enforcement and the 325th SFS also assist each other with crash investigations, and drug interdiction arrests. Lt. Jason King, FHP public affairs officer, stated communication between each agency is the key to integrated defense.
“We have been fortunate lately to be more active with Tyndall in a training aspect,” said King. “We have had an awesome time sharing information, experiences, and seeing first-hand the mutual respect we have for each other.”
U.S. Air Force Special Agent Kevin Sucher, Office of Special Investigations, Det. 223, superintendent, added that location and experience are extremely important when it comes to investigating cases. Military members are consistently moved from one location to another, whereas State Troopers remain in the same location and know their surroundings.
“There are more of them than there are of us, and being local to the area they can provide vital information that helps us posture appropriately,” said Sucher. “Additionally, we share different investigative techniques and procedures which can aid in reaching investigative thoroughness.”
Tyndall has begun to host quarterly law enforcement conferences with every surrounding agency in attempt to streamline the sharing of information and strengthen a relationship between Tyndall and the surrounding community.
“Integrated Defense is a team sport,” said Criss. “Everyone inside and outside the fence line plays a different role for the collective effort to protect our power projection platforms and the people that generate those missions.”