NEWS | July 25, 2014

New procedure for vehicle lockouts

By 628th Security Forces Squadron

If you lock your keys inside your vehicle while on Joint Base Charleston, it's going to take a little longer to get your vehicle unlocked and back on the road. The 628th Security Forces Squadron will no longer respond to vehicle lockout requests due to safety, damage and liability concerns.

The use of a lockpick (slimjim) tool used to open vehicles often damages or detaches the lock rods, leaving the lock inoperable even with the key. This is often a clue someone has attempted to break into a car. Newer cars have also incorporated internal defenses against this tool such as barrier blocks on the bottom of the window, preventing entry, and also shrouding the operating rods and the lock cylinder to prevent manipulation of internal linkages. Other manufacturers have designed the operating rods to be easily disconnected when engaged with a lateral force - as is often created by the lifting action of the tool. Additionally, internal door electronics, wires and air bag modules can be damaged.

While the National Transportation Safety Board has not verified injuries due to slimjims causing the deployment of side airbags, there is potential to damage safety, lock and structural components within the door when attempting to unlock a vehicle from the outside.

In the event you require emergency assistance to unlock your vehicle, such as a child trapped in the vehicle, the 628th SFS will respond. However, if the situation is not deemed an emergency, drivers on the Air Base will have to contact the North Charleston Police Department dispatch at 743-7200, and drivers on the Weapons Station will need to contact the Goose Creek Police Department dispatch at 572-4300. Ask for the Community Service officer to assist or contact a local towing or locksmith. The Base Defense Operations Center has a list of numbers for local towing companies and locksmiths allowed on the installation.

For more information concerning this change in service, contact Capt. Jonathan Blount at 963-3641.