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Pass and ID: How to help them help you

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The Base Pass and ID office located just outside the Tinker Gate doesn't want to stop someone's fiancé from getting to the Tinker Chapel on time. Nor do they want to turn away a grandmother from a squadron homecoming.

"We're here to help you, not say, 'No, you can't come on base,'" said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Strothers, 72nd Security Forces Squadron and NCOIC of the office.

Nonetheless, there are rules in the name of security. While most of them are easy to follow, a top rule is that visitors must bring a proper state-issued ID and, for drivers, proof of vehicle insurance.

Any sponsored visitor who is 18 or older will have a computer background check through the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the National Crime Information Center. If certain past convictions or other unfavorable information is found, the would-be guest could be denied access -- with no explanation.

"We issue them a denial letter from the installation commander which explains the appeal process. But, right then, we can't let them in," Sergeant Strothers said.

Those situations are rare. The office hands out about 22,000 passes a year to contractors, visitors, dignitaries and people requiring access to restricted areas.
It's important to know the office doesn't handle common access and dependent ID cards. Those items should be obtained from the DEERS office (739-7646), which is located in Bldg. 460, the 72nd Air Base Wing headquarters.

Pass and ID is open 24/7, but its busiest times are usually from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. First-time visitors and contractors, who are sponsored by a base organization and have a state-issued photo ID and auto insurance verification, can be issued a pass in as little as 15 to 20 minutes, Sergeant Strothers said.

A crowded lobby and/or computer breakdowns, however, can stretch the wait to an hour or more, he said. Here's a look at some common situations and how to deal with them:

· You left your CAC or contractor pass at home. Go back and get it. If necessary, you can ask a co-worker with escort authorization to meet you at a gate and bring you on base.
If no one is available, Pass and ID can verify your status through the DEERS office during its normal business hours (7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday). After those hours, a sponsor will be needed in order to obtain a visitor's pass to gain access to the installation.

· Your cousins are visiting and you want to show them the base. If you hold a common access card or any other kind of sponsoring ID card, you're allowed to escort them on the base in your vehicle without a visitor pass. Any visitors, who are at least 18, must show a state-issued photo ID or a driver's license. High school students may show a school ID.

· You're a contracting company and need access for a new employee or crew. Contact the Air Force Sustainment Center Contracting Directorate for proper procedures on contracting passes/cards.

· Your unit is hosting an event with eight or more civilians who don't have pass cards attending. Fill out an Entry Authorization Letter and provide it to Pass and ID two weeks before the event. Sergeant Strothers advises submitting the EAL at least a week in advance to ensure it is processed and given to gate guards ahead of the function.

For more information, call Pass and ID at 734-5191.