Defend the base, do your part

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Westphal is the 50th Security Forces Squadron commander at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Westphal is the 50th Security Forces Squadron commander at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- This is the first assignment I have had the opportunity to be assigned base housing, and I sure do enjoy it! The housing is top quality, while the amenities and support offered to residents are also very valuable. But it seems that a very significant selling point has always been the sense of safety and security that comes from living on a military installation. At the same time, everyone who works and visits Schriever enjoys the same blanket of protection. I am proud to lead the members of the 50th Security Forces Squadron and Schriever's Integrated Defense Force in defending all of you.

While we stand ready to defend the base and its personnel I want to take this opportunity to remind you that you are all part of the IDF. I welcome you to take an active role in defending our base. In an emergency, call 911 or 567-3911 if on base; if you see suspicious activity, report it through Eagle Eyes; and if you have information about a crime, call Crimestoppers. Hopefully you have seen this information in one of the many venues we advertise in, and maybe your help can save a life, prevent an attack or catch a criminal.

But there are many other ways you can help your community. Seemingly small ways that can add up to make a difference. It is easy to take your safety and security for granted on base, but a major contributor to the perception of personal security on base results from you, the community. While I am glad residents feel secure enough to leave their car and residence doors unlocked, and their garage doors open, I ask that you lock and close them anyway. Petty crime is not unknown on military bases, and simple measures like these deter crimes of opportunity. Similarly, these habits keep children from getting trapped in cars and away from the potentially dangerous contents of our garages. Have your children wear their helmets and stay out of the street when riding around the neighborhood. Taking steps like these keep our neighborhoods safe; this is the intent behind the seemingly inconsequential rules that direct such actions.

This call to action may seem focused on base housing, but it applies to any community, on or off base. This includes neighborhoods in the surrounding area. You don't need a Neighborhood Watch for you to watch out for your neighborhood. It may feel more comfortable approaching a person on base, given our shared experience and indoctrination with teamwork and mutual accountability, but you can do the same in your off-base community. Maybe the first neighbor to build your neighborhood will be you.

Our workplaces are neighborhoods of another sort. Again, little things lead to big things: lock up the snack bar fund; promote a supportive and respectful workplace; report concerning behavior in your coworkers...you might prevent the next larceny, assault or active shooter.

Be a good neighbor in the larger community outside your immediate neighborhood. On any roadway, on and off base, report aggressive driving by calling the State Patrol at *CSP (*277) when it is safe to do so. All you need is the offender's license plate number (and vehicle description, if you can get it safely). Just tell the operator the nature of the aggressive driving and give them the vehicle information. The call takes only a minute and may get a dangerous driver off the road. Take the time to protect yourself and your family by sanitizing your social media accounts and knowing who sees what you post.

By following and encouraging others to follow even the most seemingly minor rules, we set a standard for our communities and send a message that we expect safety and security to be the norm and are willing to make a stand and do something about it. Your defenders are doing an excellent job keeping you secure, but your contributions can take us to the next level of effective force protection for our community.

Defend the base!