Story by Jason Bortz on 08/22/2019Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola Police are actively looking for traffic violations on NAS Pensacola, Corry Station and Saufley Field.
The Police Department on NAS Pensacola is increasing its presence around the local military installations and are looking for drivers breaking any of the traffic laws. Drivers are encouraged to pay attention to traffic laws and avoid distractions such operating a cell phone while driving.
"Our job is to protect everyone that is aboard NAS Pensacola, which includes Corry Station and Saufley Field," said Chief Master-at-Arms Ryan Gager, operations chief, NAS Pensacola Security and Police Department. "We have a lot of military students and visitors on base and we want to ensure they are safe along with everyone else that is here."
Approximately 60,000 military students attend training on NAS Pensacola annually and approximately one million people visit the National Naval Aviation Museum alone each year. Add in approximately 10,000 visitors to watch a Blue Angels' weekly practice and over 150,000 visitors for the annual Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show and the base is flurry of activity that the NAS Pensacola Police have to monitor.
According to Gager, some of the common traffic violations on base include speeding, failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, texting or using a smartphone while driving, failure to use a turn signal, expired registration and failure to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk. It is also a Florida state law that drivers must yield for a funeral procession, which are common on NAS Pensacola because of Barrancas National Cemetery.
Any of these violations or another traffic violation may result in a NAS Pensacola police officer or master-at-arms issuing a citation to the driver. Common traffic violations usually result in an Armed Forces citation, which equates to a loss of points on an individual's driver's record. If a person loses more than 12 points in a year, their driving privileges on base will be revoked for one year.
Anyone who receives an Armed Forces citation has the option to attend a monthly traffic court on base and plead their case. One individual, who asked to not be identified, recently attended a traffic court for causing an accident and leaving the scene.
"The best advice I can give someone driving on base is to pay attention," said the individual. "I wish I had."
Deduction in points vary depending on the violation, but a few examples are six points for fleeing the scene of a hit and run, four points for failure to stop for a school bus, three points for not wearing a seatbelt, four points for not yielding to a pedestrian in the crosswalk and three to five points for speeding. Operating a cell phone while driving is prohibited and will result in the loss of six points.
Serious violations, such exceeding the speed limit by more than 15 miles per hour, may result in a magistrate citation. Individuals receiving a magistrate citation will have to pay a fine and may have to appear before a Federal judge.
"We don't want to write tickets or citations, but safety is very important to us," said Master-at-Arms 1st Class Nathan Tannehill, who is originally from New Port Richey, Florida. "I just want everyone who works on base or is visiting the base to be safe."
The NAS Pensacola Safety Department offers an eight-hour driver's safety course that stresses automobile safety. The course is required for all new service members assigned to NAS Pensacola, but is also available for all active duty service members, military retirees and military families.
"It is a good course to take because traffic laws change or are updated," said Jane Bush, safety and occupational specialist, NAS Pensacola Safety Department. "Plus, some insurance companies will offer a discount with the completion of this course."
To enroll in the monthly course, call the NAS Pensacola Safety Department at 850-452-8167.