By Liliana Castillo: Freedom New Mexico
Cannon Air Force Base is taking security for the 300 families that live in Chavez West housing up a level.
The base housing community is on its way to being a gated community. As of June 1, security forces have been conducting 100 percent identification checks at the entrance.
Maj. Andrew Resch, 27th Special Operations Wing Security Forces commander, said the change is one the wing leadership has been wanting to do for about two years.
Concerns about jurisdiction was the main issue keeping security forces from it, he said. The base began the process seeking concurrent jurisdiction with the county. In the process, the base found that as property owners they can make the housing community a gated community.
“(Chavez West) is considered on-base housing and those residents expect the same security as they have on base,” Resch said.
Resch said a permanent gate will replace the temporary guard shack that sits at the east entrance to Chavez West now. He said the $700,000 gate should be finished in the fall of 2011 and will include paving a new road.
“We were challenged by our commander for the ID checks to happen sooner rather than later,” Resch said of the June 1 start date. “2011 is too long to go without giving our residents the security they need.”
While the housing community was open, Resch said residents there have been victims of unauthorized solicitors, burglaries, thefts and criminal mischief.
Maj. Mae-Li Allison of Public Affairs said Chavez West has a no solicitors rule.
“This is a better way to enforce it,” she said.
About a year ago, security forces closed all entrances to Chavez West to minimize unauthorized access. Since then, security forces has been performing random ID checks.