JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. —
The 628th Security Forces Squadron conducted a DUI checkpoint on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, at Redbank Road in front of Joint Base Charleston’s Naval Weapons Station. The Airmen were doing their part in meeting the priorities of Col. Terrence Adams, 628th Air Base Wing commander, and Lt. Col. Michael Speck’s, 628th Security Forces Squadron commander, to make a positive impact in reducing or stopping drinking and driving.
Security forces holds several random holiday checkpoints throughout the year, with three-day weekends such as Memorial Day and Labor Day, where drinking is more prevalent, in a highly visible effort to help deter alcohol-related incidents.
“Security forces has been doing checkpoints for a while now,” said Tech. Sgt. Chato Gonzalez, 628th SFS flight sergeant. “Super Bowl Sunday is always a top priority to have checkpoints because it’s a day where DUIs typically spike.”
Although security forces patrolmen who volunteer to cover theses checkpoints are giving up their own free time when they would normally be celebrating the holidays or watching football, they know what they’re doing the greater good.
“We know people are going to go out and have a good time. We just want to make sure they’re being safe about it,” said Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Calo, 628th SFS flight sergeant. “I’m sure everyone would rather be home watching the Super Bowl, but our passion for combatting drunk driving outweighs that.”
Gonzalez, while helping to protect Airmen and the surrounding community, also takes a personal investment in preventing and stopping DUIs.
“I don’t like pulling people over just to find drunk people. I go out there to make sure the roads are safe for everyone,” said Gonzalez. “I had a cousin who was killed by a drunk driver, so it hits hard for me and that’s why I want to help prevent that from happening to someone else.”
When it comes to this checkpoint, it’s different from what a lot of security forces units might have to deal with because of where there jurisdiction lies.
“Here on the Weapons Station, it’s really unique because we have a jurisdiction on Redbank Road, which we share with the state,” said Gonzalez. “So we can also stop and charge civilians with DUIs if need be.”
While maintaining areas such as Redbank Road, they’re helping meet not only the priorities of their squadron and wing commanders, but also those of the state.
“It’s Col. Adams’ priority and our commander, Lt. Col. Speck’s priority, but it’s also the state’s priority,” said Calo. “South Carolina had over 1,000 traffic deaths last year and a lot of those can be attributed to impaired driving.”
While helping to prevent alcohol-related incidents such as DUIs is the main focus for events like this checkpoint, Calo also understand this is about safety of people and their well-being, as well as base assets.
“We’re not trying to stop people from just drinking and driving, we’re trying to stop them from getting behind the wheel and hurting themselves, someone else or any of the assets on base,” said Calo. “We’re not out here to ruin lives and careers. But obviously I can’t turn a blind eye if someone has already made the decision to drink and drive. We just want to deter someone from making the decision in the first place.”