Civilian defenders serve alongside SF Airmen

  • Published
  • By Mauricio Campino, 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

If you’ve ever entered through the gates at Dover Air Force Base within the last decade, you’ve likely encountered a Department of the Air Force police officer.

There are currently 11 DAF police officers working on Dover AFB, most noticeably engaged in installation entry control or patrols of the base. Their blue uniforms make them stand out from those wearing camouflage. But these officers are also fully integrated into all sections of the 436th Security Forces Squadron commanded by Lt. Col. Schneider Rislin, including the armory, K-9 units and Combat Arms Training and Maintenance.

“The DAF Police officers are an invaluable part of our defense force,” said Rislin. “They come with a level of experience and life skills that benefit our young defenders greatly.”

To become a DAF police officer, candidates must complete a 10-week training course at the Veteran Affairs Law Enforcement Training Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Officers must be versed in federal and state laws. They must also learn the rules and regulations of the military installation that hires them. Prior military service is not a requirement; although, many DAF police officers are military veterans from all branches.

“I was active-duty Marine Corps, a military police officer … So, it was an extremely easy transition,” said Officer Dillon Lackus, DAF police officer.

Officers at Dover AFB enter federal service as a GS-07, with the opportunity to promote to higher grades. They are required to maintain their physical fitness and complete annual weapons and tactics training, much like their active-duty counterparts. For many veterans, becoming a DAF police officer is a way to continue a career of service after separating from active duty.

“I always knew that I wanted to serve the community. In this capacity, I get to do it both by serving those that serve our country and protecting the families of those service members,” said Officer Justin Viens, DAF supervising police officer.

Viens served on active duty as a security forces Airman for six years and is a 10-year veteran of the DAF police force. 

“One the unique aspects of being a Department of the Air Force police officer is the continuity we bring,” said Viens.

DAF police officers do not deploy or change duty stations as their active-duty counterparts do. Because of this, they are a source of knowledge for fellow officers and Airmen, especially for those new to Dover AFB.

Shifts begin with a visit to the armory. Wearing protective body armor and duty belts, they draw their weapons and ammunition: a pistol, a rifle and a less-than-lethal weapon, such as a stun gun. After some additional preparations, they attend an official pre-shift formation, commonly referred to as a guard mount. During guard mount, security forces Airmen and DAF police officers both stand in formation together to receive assignments, special instructions and other information pertinent to their shift from their flight chief.

“The camaraderie here at Dover Air Force Base is excellent. Even though we (DAF police) wear a different uniform and we’re civilians, we fit right in with the military … We work side by side,” said Lackus.

For more information on joining the DAF police, contact Officer Justin Viens at 302-677-6658.