Sunday, July 5, 2020
Officers Mark Johnson and Emanuel Brown with the Directorate of Emergency Services Police Department review a motorist IDs and ask screening questions April 3 at the Main Gate entry control point at Fort McCoy. Fort McCoy police have limited entry to the installation since the start of the installation's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March (U.S. Army Photo by Scott T. Sturkol, Public Affairs Office, Fort McCoy)

Fort McCoy police stepping up to continue mission through pandemic response

Since the start of the installation's response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) Police Department have been at the forefront of maintaining installation security and doing their part to prevent the spread of the virus.

"In my opinion, the DES team is working well together to accomplish the mission and provide security and law enforcement to the installation," said Fort McCoy Police Chief Brian Bomstein with DES. "We have enacted personal
protective measures to assist with reducing the exposure to the public and community who could pass the virus to first responders."

People entering Fort McCoy can only do so through the Main Gate. Once stopping at the Main Gate, security personnel stay back at least 6 feet and complete a series of screening criteria for everyone entering.

The screening criteria follow a self-assessment that each person is asked to do before going to the post. They include:

• Have you had close contact with a confirmed positive COVID-19 individual?

• Are you sick or do you have any of the following symptoms - fever (99.5 Fahrenheit/37.5 Celsius or greater), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle fatigue, or diarrhea?

If anyone answers "yes" to those questions, they are asked to stay home, seek medical care, to contact their supervisor, and follow local health authority guidance. People with any of those symptoms may not be allowed
access to the installation. Access control point screening criteria went in effect March 26.

"These measures are in place to protect ourselves and the rest of the workforce from the spread of COVID-19," Bomstein said. "We ask that people please continue to conduct a daily self-assessment prior to arriving at the
post. Your honest answers are important for the health and safety of our workforce and America's warfighters.

Protection and safety are paramount to the department's personnel, Bomstein said. And while many of the installation's workforce are completing their jobs through telework, Fort McCoy police have to be on post.

"Telework is a minimal option in the DES as there are few administrative positions in the directorate," Bomstein said. "Most of DES is composed of first responders who are required to maintain training and certifications in order to respond to the installation's call for law enforcement at a moment's notice."

Throughout the ongoing response to the pandemic, Bomstein said, they all are remaining flexible and adapting to a changing environment.

"The ongoing response by the Fort McCoy Police Department is commendable," Bomstein said. "Especially since a pandemic is an unprecedented incident and not one that can be readily trained for or usually exercised during an
annual exercise. Each officer - to include supervisors - are responding to the best of their ability and in accordance with the direction and guidance provided.

"The (DES) Law Enforcement Division is functioning well as a team and is maintaining flexibility as we move through this pandemic," Bomstein said. "It is a great team."

Members of the DES Police Department will continue to do whatever it takes to keep everyone safe.

"I ask the community to remain flexible as officers at the Main Gate ask them daily about their self-screening, as it can be repetitive, but it is in the best interests of the installation and the community," Bomstein said.

Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Hui Chae Kim has also said community members should remain flexible during this time.

"We recognize that this is a very dynamic situation, and conditions are constantly changing," Kim said. "We will continue to make fully informed decisions and actively communicate those decisions to our personnel and community."

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