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Security forces Airmen protect, secure during school dismissal

Senior Airman Timothy Maphet, 436th Security Forces Squadron installation patrolman, smiles after interacting with parents Aug. 29, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Security forces Airmen patrol the school zone either on foot or by vehicle, ensuring the safety and security of students, faculty and parents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Harding)

Senior Airman Timothy Maphet, 436th Security Forces Squadron installation patrolman, smiles after interacting with parents Aug. 29, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Security forces Airmen patrol the school zone either on foot or by vehicle, ensuring the safety and security of students, faculty and parents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Harding)

Senior Airman Timothy Maphet, 436th Security Forces Squadron installation patrolman, watches over students during school dismissal Aug. 29, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Security forces Airmen rotate performing school dismissal patrol, ensuring safety and security. (US Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Harding)

Senior Airman Timothy Maphet, 436th Security Forces Squadron installation patrolman, watches over students during school dismissal Aug. 29, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Security forces Airmen rotate performing school dismissal patrol, ensuring safety and security. (US Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Harding)

Senior Airman Timothy Maphet, 436th Security Forces Squadron installation patrolman, speaks with a faculty member Aug. 29, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Maphet believes a police presence ensures safety and security of the kids and their parents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Harding)

Senior Airman Timothy Maphet, 436th Security Forces Squadron installation patrolman, speaks with a faculty member Aug. 29, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Maphet believes a police presence ensures safety and security of the kids and their parents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Harding)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Doors swing open, and a flood of kids pour out onto the sidewalk, buzzing about as they depart for the rest of the day. Some gather in groups to converse as others use bikes or their own two feet to return home.

The end of August marks the beginning of the academic year for schools on base, causing an influx of traffic during school dismissal times and creating potential safety hazards.

With a steady gaze, a 436th Security Forces Squadron Airman stands watch outside of George Welch Elementary School and Dover AFB Middle School during the dismissal period every school day.

“I feel as though police presence ensures safety and security,” said Senior Airman Timothy Maphet, 436 SFS installation patrolman. “It could also provide less stress and more engagement in the schooling community.”

The officer watches for issues like children riding a bike without a helmet or any potential hazing or bullying. They also watch for vehicle and pedestrian traffic and ensure speed bumps are in the correct spots.

With approximately 200 students and 40 faculty members at Dover AFB Middle School, having a security forces patrol standing watch helps control the chaos.

“I believe that security forces’ presence at the school’s dismissal ensures that the kids self-act on safety and influence their classmates to do the same,” said Maphet. “Nobody wants to get in trouble after school.”

The students eventually depart the school zone, leaving the security forces Airman behind. The Airman reaches for his or her radio to declare the dismissal complete before returning to patrol the base. Security forces Airmen ensure students safely return home to their loved ones.