Police Week 2020: Ramstein Honors Fallen Law Enforcement

By TSgt Jocelyn A. Ford, 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, 8 May 2020

A U.S. Air Force 86th Security Forces Squadron patrol car is parked prior to participating in a caravan of Kaiserslautern Military Community first responders at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, 7 May 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Taylor D. Slater)

 RAMSTEIN AIR BASE --

Though coronavirus disease 2019 is hindering activities that once drew huge crowds, COVID-19 will not stop a nation from honoring and remembering law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

On Oct. 1, 1962, former President John F. Kennedy signed a bill into law designating May 15 as a day to honor peace officers. Twenty years later, an annual memorial service began in Washington D.C., at Senate Park, and the week encompassing Peace Officers Memorial Day has since been referred to as Police Week.

“Police Week is a humbling week,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Bonham, 86th Security Forces Squadron flight sergeant. “We remember our Defenders and why we do the job.”

The Monday of Police Week has historically started with a prayer breakfast and a small commencement ceremony, followed by a week full of events. Traditionally there are law enforcement-centric competitions that bring the different law enforcement agencies together in both a humbling and exciting way.

“It’s really exciting and a humbling event to be a part of,” Bonham said. “It’s awesome because it gets all the law enforcement agencies in the area together to celebrate National Police Week and remember everything that’s going on with law enforcement.”

Due to restrictions on social gatherings, ceremonies and events are scheduled to be aired or held virtually this year. The 569th, 435th and 86th SFS’s together created the Ramstein Police Week Virtual 5k Facebook group to honor the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the line of duty. Anyone who wants to participate in the virtual run can join the group.

Though the final guard mount will not be a public event, each unit still performing guard mount will take the time to honor those U.S. Air Force law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty since 9/11.

Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, 21, Sept. 28, 2005, Camp Bucca, Iraq

Staff Sgt. Brian McElroy, 28, Jan. 22, 2006, Taji, Iraq

Tech. Sgt. Jason L. Norton, 32, Jan. 22, 2006, Taji, Iraq

Airman 1st Class Leebernard E. Chavis, 21, Oct. 14, 2006, Baghdad, Iraq

Staff Sgt. John T. Self, 29, May 14, 2007, Baghdad, Iraq

Airman 1st Class Jason D. Nathan, 22, June 23, 2007, Iraq

Staff Sgt. Travis L. Griffin, 28, April 3, 2008, Baghdad, Iraq

1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton, 24, Sept. 8, 2009, Baghdad, Iraq

Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, 25, March 2, 2011, Frankfurt, Germany

Staff Sgt. Todd “TJ” Lobraico, 22, Sept. 5, 2013, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

Airman 1st Class Kcey E. Ruiz, 21, Oct. 2, 2015, Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan

Senior Airman Nathan C. Sartain, 29, Oct. 2, 2015, Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan

Tech. Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm, 45, Dec. 21, 2015, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

 Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa, 31, Dec. 21, 2015, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

AFSFA Commissions 35 Commemorative Sig Sauer M18 Pistols

Between 1 June and 31 July 2020 any current AFSFA member may call in and place their name on a list for one of the military’s newest modular handguns … the Sig Sauer M18. These commemorative pistols will have the Security Forces shield outline engraved on the black plate just in front of the rear sight and bear our name, AIR FORCE SECURTY FORCES ASSOC, on the right side of the slide as pictured. The 9MM pistol is flat dark earth in color and comes with: a manual safety; (2) 17 round steel magazines; the SIGLITE night sights; and, an AFSFA certificate of authenticity numbered to the pistol. Pistols sell for $795.00 each which includes shipping but DOES NOT include transfer fees.

Interested AFSFA members MUST call the AFSFA office at 210-277-0448 or John at 505-414-2166 NO EARLIER than 1 June and NO LATER than 31 July 2020 and personally talk with Crystal or John to place their name on the list. Once current membership is confirmed the member’s name will be added to the list and members may ONLY put their name on the list ONCE. The drawing will take place on 5 August 2020 and the 35 members names drawn will be notified that week. Delivery is anticipated to start in December 2020. Members will be contacted in early December to pay for the pistol and provide weapons dealer shipping information. Since these pistols are customized with engraving they may not be shipped to CA or MA, there are NO exceptions to this rule. Additionally, CO, CT, DC, MD, NJ, NY and VT all have magazine restrictions for 10 rounds unless the member is an active Law Enforcement Officer in their state.

Air Force Academy Unveils License Plate Readers at Gates

License plate readers at the U.S. Air Force Academy are scanning the plates of every vehicle entering the base through the north and south gates. The newly-installed technology, commonly used by civilian law enforcement agencies, is another means of defending the base. (U.S. Air Force Academy photo)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Newly installed license plate readers at the Air Force Academy are scanning the plates of every vehicle entering the base today through the north and south gates.

A patrol vehicle used by the 10th Security Forces Squadron, the base’s law enforcement unit, has also been fitted with a license plate reader.  

“License plate readers check the plates of all vehicles entering the installation against national and local law enforcement databases and registries,” said Col. Marcus Corbett, commander of the 10th SFS. “They offer us an opportunity to leverage technology to provide early detection of potential threats.”

The readers indicate if a vehicle is stolen, involved in an “Amber Alert,” if the driver is a wanted person, or other violations and concerns. 

Peterson Air Force Base was the first military installation in the Colorado Springs area to install the readers.

“Although not mandated by the Defense Department or the Air Force, license plate readers have been successfully used by civilian law enforcement officers to curtail crime,” said Capt. Moses Lee, the 10th SFS operations officer. “They’re just another terrific tool for keeping our community safe.”

Lee said the readers operate quickly.

“The technology is fast so we don’t expect delays at the gates to be a regular occurrence,” he said.

Get Ready for the 2020 Chapter of the Year Competition

ATTENTION, CHAPTER CHAIRS: The deadline for submitting your Chapter of the Year package to the San Antonio headquarters is rapidly approaching. The submission deadline is 31 July 2020 and the nomination forms are online at the AFSFA web site "Members", then "Members Documents" then "AFSFA Chapter Recognition Program."  The competition period for the award covers the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.  All of the rules and processes remain in place for the 2020 competition. The AFSFA vice president and regional directors will use the posted point scoring system for judging. The board of directors will validate the scores in time for the awards ceremony at the banquet. As with last year, we know from reading your minutes there are nearly 40 chapters doing great work that needs to be recognized – we invite you to “take-on” the reigning champion, the Ron Blatman Evergreen Chapter, and the 2019 runner-up, the Travis Bay Area Chapter!

For more information review the policy letter at:  http://afsfaonline.com/index.php/members/member-documents/120-afsfa-chapter-recognition-policy-statement

 

Easter Bunny Visits Children of Deployed Parents

A1C Cameron Otte, 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

The Easter Bunny made a stop at Travis Air Force Base April 11 to visit families of deployed service members.

The Easter Bunny prepares to give candy to children from military families with deployed parents, April 11, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The Easter Bunny hand-delivered 163 bags of candy to the children’s homes. U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Cameron Otte

Jannet Rodriguez, a unit program coordinator for the 60th Security Forces Squadron at Travis AFB, organized the visit to deliver some cheer during the coronavirus pandemic.

“With all the gloom of being in quarantine and the lockdowns, I think it’s important to spread some joy,” Rodriguez said. “I wanted to allow the opportunity for children to have an Easter event and not feel left out. We were going to have a squadron event, but since they were unable to come to us we decided to come to them.”

The Easter Bunny went door-to-door to visit with Travis families and delivered 163 candy bags.

“We started by purchasing 800 eggs and all the decorations needed to pack them,” Rodriguez said. “Then, we coordinated with the volunteers to pack the eggs and make the bags. After we finished, we mapped all the houses that we were going to deliver to on Saturday.”

The volunteers also made Easter bags for deployed service members to receive upon their return.

“I have a child, so I can relate to the other spouses on base who feel they are missing out on this holiday,” Rodriguez said.

The families seemed to really enjoy the event and the unexpected visit from the Easter bunny.

“I think what they are doing is great,” said Ericka Hrkach, spouse of U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Hrkach, 60th SFS military working dog handler. “My kids were so excited to see the Easter Bunny for the first time. It made us happy and was a very special moment for our kids.”

Rodriguez said the event was a success because the Travis community came together.

“It feels so great getting involved with events like these,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes I go a little overboard and end up getting in over my head, and that’s why I’m so thankful to all the volunteers who helped support this with me. I think all the effort is worth it when you see a child’s face light up with excitement because nothing is more precious than a child’s smile.

“I think it’s great people are still willing to volunteer even with all the extra precautions people have to take because of the coronavirus.”

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