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NEWS | Aug. 5, 2010

Security Forces Squadron partners with SAPD

By Mike Joseph 502nd Air Base Wing OL-A Public Affairs

A collaborative effort between the 802nd Security Forces Squadron, city officials and nearby businesses has taken a bite out of crime in the Lackland area.

Lackland's partnership with the San Antonio Police Department, the City of San Antonio and business owners reduced crime in the immediate area, according to Lt. Col. Edward Schneider, 802nd SFS commander.

The cooperative's result: crime is down around the immediate Lackland area.

"The key is our ability to talk with our off base partners and vice versa," said Colonel Schneider. "This is all for the protection of not only our Airmen but of those families visiting us for graduation.

"I'm very happy with how we are communicating with the city and the business owners off base. We need a safe atmosphere off base for what I call our 3,000 families - the moms and dads that come for basic military training graduation every Thursday and Friday," he said.

Colonel Schneider had high praise for SAPD, particularly Capt. John Saucedo and the West Patrol Station. He said the two commanders have an open line of communication in keeping the area safe.

"SAPD has done a great job with POP (Problem Oriented Policing)," Colonel Schneider said. "They are doing textbook community policing work, pushing officers into suspected problem areas.

"Crime has dropped on the west side of San Antonio, particularly in our immediate area. The city, SAPD and the business owners have done the necessary things - increased patrols, cleanup, and removing trash and graffiti. They are really meeting our needs of communication and officer availability."

The city and business owners removed graffiti and trash around the West Gate Plaza and VIA bus transit station, located along the access road west of Military Drive and Highway 90.

SAPD has also stepped up its presence in the area, and is addressing vagrancy issues.

SAPD has also been dispersing safety tips and crime deterrent information to lodging facilities in the area. The literature provides safety suggestions for the facilities and its visitors.

"The working relationship with the city, especially the west substation, is probably the best I've been associated with at any base," Colonel Schneider said. "SAPD provides officers when we need it, and they increase officer presence when we point out potential problem areas off base."

The SFS commander said it was important to inform the base populace about off-base security. By communicating with commanders and first sergeants, the 802nd SFS spreads the word on areas to avoid, especially after dark.

The squadron is also coordinating with the 737th Training Group to provide safety information and tips through its website for families planning to attend BMT graduation at Lackland.

"The key is educating the base, to tell them what's transpiring in the area," Colonel Schneider said. We also want them to know that the fear of crime and understanding it is the (key to preventing) actual crime, he said.

"Partnering with the city, SAPD and the local business community, we can achieve phenomenal results. The statistics prove it's working," he added.