EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSWV Military Base Security Discussed After Navy Yard Shooting
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Kera Mashek
Web Producer: Kera Mashek
Reported: Sep. 16, 2013 9:00 PM EDT
Updated: Sep. 16, 2013 9:07 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Monday's Navy Yard shootings in Washington, D.C. left 13 dead, and others injured. The incident is now drawing questions about the security of military bases across the country.
Around the clock, people right here in West Virginia are keeping a close eye on any possible threat to the Mountain State. Information was being closely watched here at the Fusion Center Monday, following the Navy Yard deadly shooting spree in Washington, D.C. The center is a collaboration between state and federal agencies, where intelligence is gathered and shared so that West Virginians can do whatever is necessary to prepare or respond to a problem.
"he best asset that we have is we're able to pass on accurate information, as accurate as we can possibly get. So at that point, they know how to deploy people, even on a local level with state police, or the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office. They can begin to know what kind of equipment they need, specialized people like SWAT teams, bomb team, things like that," said Thom Kirk, West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center director.
Retired Adjutant General Allen Tackett says he has no doubt that West Virginia's military operations, including those headed up at Charleston's Yeager airport, are ready in a moment's notice to do just that.
"Oh I know that our state is prepared and ready to respond to those kind of events. One of the best training venues in the entire nation is right here in West Virginia at the old memorial tunnel, now known as the Center for National Response, where they actually rehearse these type of events and prepare first responders for this kind of thing," said Tackett.
And when it comes to base security, practices are in place to keep soldiers safe, but there's still room for improvement.
To help improve security at West Virginia's 130th Air National Guard Wing, a project that's been talked about for years will soon become a reality. It will provide direct and secure access to the base.
"You know I've preached for several years that we need to build a bridge across the Elk River to take the highway from going through the center of our base and our state headquarters there on Coonskin Drive. And this is the perfect example of why it needs to be done because those kind of events can take place anywhere," said Tackett.
With funding now in place, construction on that new bridge is set to be completed next year, and while the new bridge will certainly help restrict base access, of course there's no guarantee any changes will be fool proof. It's all the more reason soldiers here train and prepare to act fast in worst case scenarios.
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