The Marine Corps Police check every commercial vehicle that enters the base for illegal contraband, explosives, drugs, and more as part of the commercial vehicle safety inspection.
First the contact officer approaches the vehicle to get basic information and give instructions on how the safety check process will work. Corporal Drew Adams with the Marine Corp Police says as the Contact Officer it's his responsibility to make sure the driver answers all questions and follows directions.
Drivers must open all interior and exterior compartments for inspection and the Overwatch Officer provides overall security with a shot gun during the inspection. Lt. Perry Mixon, the Assistant Operations Officer at the safety check says two more checks are run after an officer checks the compartments. "An inspector uses a mirror to go around the vehicle to look for things he can't normally see with his eyes. After that a canine does their sweep around the vehicle." says Mixon.
Officials say around 90% of the inspections run smoothly, however occasionally they encounter a truck driver that has never delivered to the MCLB and may have a weapon with them for protection. "We understand that truck drivers are out there in a dangerous world today and they need to protect themselves. In that case officers will simply ask the vehicle to leave. They can return once they've secured the weapon somewhere off of federal property â" such as the truck stop up the street. They have lockers a driver can rent if needed" says Mixon.
Officers inspect anywhere between 80-160 vehicles a day. "If the vehicle is a smaller truck â" it may take a couple minutes. If it's a big 18-wheeler it can take anywhere between five to ten minutes" says Cpl. Drew Adams.
If officer find anything, all operations stop, authorities are notified, the driver is secured in an area away from their vehicle, and then a process involving paperwork and taking photographs ensues after the item(s) are secured.
The weather has no affect on vehicle inspections. Officers say in case of inclimate weather they will take cars over to a nearby covered area and continue inspections. "We have a simple policy, either your vehicle gets inspected or you don't come onto the base" says Mixon.
In part two of Mission MCLB Commercial Safety Check we'll tell you how they utilize military canine dogs and technology to enhance their searches.