The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District’s mission is to deliver vital engineering solutions in collaboration with partners to serve and strengthen the Nation, energize the economy and reduce disaster risks. The daily tasks executed by the civilian workforce are imperative to achieving this mission, but none of the work would be possible without the Security and Law Enforcement Office, helping to keep the District’s people and property safe.
The Baltimore District covers a surface area of 49,000 square miles and more than 7,000 miles of coastline and employs more than 1,100 personnel. Every diverse project site within this area, spanning six states and the District of Columbia, is inspected by the District’s Security Office on a regular and recurring basis. The timeline for inspections at each site varies depending on the type of project and its level of risk if something were to happen.
Army Regulation 190-13 outlines the necessary security measures for a Department of the Army location, including how property is stored and documented, assessments of access routes to the location, measurements of parking proximity to buildings and approved monitoring devices and alarm systems.
The same rules and regulations apply to defend national security at both our civilian and military worksites — from the District’s headquarter offices in Baltimore, to dam projects, to navigation units, to military construction field offices to the Washington Aqueduct.
During inspections, a security specialist reviews the checklist provided by the U.S. Army, based on AR 190-13, and evaluates the status of the physical security at each location. The physical security program is concerned with active and passive measures designed to prevent unauthorized access to personnel, equipment, installations, information, and to safeguard them against espionage, sabotage, terrorism, damage and criminal activity.
A walkaround of the facility is performed to assess any discrepancies within the regulations and the physical site. Each building is counted, along with the number of doors within each building; security cameras and motion detection devices are annotated, and their testing schedules are reviewed to ensure functionality; local law enforcement contacts are confirmed, and their response times are recorded for potential future use.
During this physical inspection, any deficiency found is documented to ensure it is resolved prior to the next inspection.
“My job isn’t to write up these offices and get them in trouble,” said Dave Adams, chief of Baltimore District’s Security and Law Enforcement Office. “It is to make sure they are in the best possible position to be as secure as they can be.”
In addition to preparing the physical location for a potential security breach, Baltimore District employees must also be educated and prepared to respond —whether from a natural disaster, building fire or act of terrorism.
The Security Office also ensures the sites have an active shooter plan in place for each location. They review the three options for personnel during an active shooter situation — run, hide and fight — and work to identify potential escape routes per location with the team.
On a recurring basis, the Security Office works with local law enforcement to provide active shooter training to the workforce.
“You never know how you may react, but at least you know the places you can go and hide,” said Barbara Hill, security specialist. “Keep your eyes open, make your team aware. If you see something suspicious, keep an eye on it.”
Keeping our workforce and infrastructure safe from threats is essential to mission readiness and ensuring continued vital water resources and engineering services are delivered to the region and Nation — and for this, we can thank the District’s Security team.