TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
There has been a recent increase in vehicles running over Stop Sticks at Tinker’s installation gates, resulting in flat tires and repair costs to both drivers and the government. Stop Sticks are similar to spike strips, but are encased in long black plastic tubes with red and white hazard markings. They are placed on the ground to prevent unauthorized vehicle entry through closed traffic lanes at installation gates, and are marked off with orange traffic cones. They are also placed in front of and behind vehicles that are being denied access to base or stopped for serious offenses.
However, some drivers do not see the Stop Sticks when they approach or proceed through the gates. In other instances, drivers do not obey Security Forces directions and proceed through the gate before the Stop Sticks can be removed. Occasionally, strong winds blow the lightweight tubes into the path of moving vehicles.
In most cases, vehicles that run over the Stop Sticks will sustain tire damage. When this happens, the Stop Sticks will be expended and must be replaced at government expense, unless and until the driver is found to be financially liable.
In order to prevent damage to your vehicle and avoid costly repairs, be cautious when approaching all installation gates. If a Security Forces member is in the process of opening a lane of traffic at the gate, keep your distance until they visually signal you to proceed. Always look out for traffic cones and Stop Sticks in the roadway. If you see unsecured Stop Sticks on a lane divider or curb, inform Security Forces prior to proceeding so they can secure them.
If you run over the Stop Sticks, remain calm and patient and cooperate with Security Forces —even if you believe you are not at fault. Provide an accurate and detailed written statement. A police report will be generated and surveillance footage may be reviewed in order to determine what happened before the report is finalized and submitted to the base’s legal office for further action.
During the month of December, the 72nd Security Forces Squadron issued 74 traffic citations and responded to the following incidents:
Property damage: 16
Trespassing/unlawful entry: 4
Security incidents: 2
Drug possession: 1
Suspicious activity: 1
Direct all questions to Staff Sgt. Rafe Holmes, 72nd Security Forces Squadron Operations, 734-6102.