Beale ushers in new defense team

Officer Jim Boden, Department of the Air Force guard, checks identifications at the Main Gate, Beale Air Force Base, Calif., July 18, 2012. DAF uniformed officers have taken many of the entry control and patrol responsibilities from the 9th Security Forces Squadron with their 12 member team and will continue as they reach a peak of 36 officers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel/Released)

Officer Jim Boden, Department of the Air Force guard, checks identifications at the Main Gate, Beale Air Force Base, Calif., July 18, 2012. DAF uniformed officers have taken many of the entry control and patrol responsibilities from the 9th Security Forces Squadron with their 12 member team and will continue as they reach a peak of 36 officers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel/Released)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., -- Members of Team Beale may have noticed new Department of the Air Force uniformed officers at the gates and patrolling the base as of November 2011 but should prepare to be seeing them much more soon.

The guards and police officers have taken many of the entry control and patrol responsibilities and from the 9th Security Forces Squadron with their 12 member team and will continue as they reach a peak of 36 officers.

"These officers are part of Beale's first line of defense," said Master Sgt. Chad Jensen, 9th SFS plans and programs manager. "Having the DAF guards helps free up the enlisted members of our team for training and deployments and relieves a lot of stress while defenders are home throughout high ops tempos."

Jensen said these new guards are fully qualified to enforce federal and local statutes and should not be mistaken for the prior contracted guards who only handled entry control duties.

The new guards go through a five week Veterans Affairs Law Enforcement Training and a two week local training program along with rigorous on the job training.

"I am proud to say most of these officers wore the security forces beret prior to becoming civilians and they take this professionalism to their new uniform," Jensen said.

After serving for 30 years in the California Highway Patrol, Officer Otto Knorr, 9th SFS DAF guard supervisor, said he's excited to be part of the team.

"We have had a lot of positive, friendly interactions with the base populace so far and I'm confident this will continue," he said. "We have worked hard to put together a stellar team to protect the gates and streets of this base; it's a big job and we won't take it lightly."