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Experts Explain LRAFB Lockdown

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- 24 hours after the Little Rock Air Force Base was locked down, two local Air Force Veterans explain why they believe the lockdown was issued.
LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- 24 hours after the Little Rock Air Force Base was locked down, two local Air Force Veterans explain why they believe the lockdown was issued.

One Vet wanted to stay unnamed; he was on the base during the lockdown. He said, "No, no it's not normal."

He added that the lockdown could have been aided by the training exercises going on Wednesday.

"During those exercises it only heightens peoples awareness to their surroundings more than they normally would every day.When they see something that's not supposed to be there and they find out it's not part of the exercise, they have to treat it as a real world event."

Doctor Jeffrey T. Walker is a 13-year Air Force veteran. He also worked at the base in the Office of Special Investigators and is currently the chair of the Criminal Justice Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

"From a safety perspective for the public," he says. "It's probably fine. You're looking at what kind of exercises are happening, is there somebody who's trying to find out what your doing? Is there somebody whose trying to pattern for criminal purposes, terrorism purposes, intelligence purposes, all of those kinds of things."

"When you're talking about classification, classified things, you just can't tell people we've got things. That happens all the time on that base that a very small number of people, to not too many people, are authorized to know about it and that's just part of the military especially after 9/11."

The base did issue a statement today:

(News release) - On July 23 there was a base-wide lockdown from 11:45 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. Normal base operations have resumed.

The lockdown was enacted at approximately 11:45 a.m. when an individual on base reported to the Security Forces law enforcement desk that a suspicious individual tried to forcibly gain access to a base building. Although the base was conducting a readiness exercise at the time, the report was not part of the exercise scenario.

"We take all reports seriously and investigate them thoroughly," said Col. Patrick Rhatigan, 19th Airlift Wing commander. "Due to this report, I implemented a lockdown and our highly trained Security Forces Airmen responded to secure our Airmen, their families and Air Force resources."

For security purposes and to prevent future incidents, the base's policy is to not release information concerning response tactics. To ensure due diligence of safety and security measures, and verify that no threats existed, law enforcement personnel conducted a thorough sweep of the 6,100 acre base.

After systematically investigating the report and gathering the facts, base leadership and Security Forces determined that no threat existed. The report was a case of mistaken identity associated with the heightened awareness of a readiness exercise.

"The base is back to normal operations, doing our C-130 mission," said Rhatigan. "We understand yesterday's lockdown caused difficulties and inconveniences for our base guests. While we apologize for the unplanned disruption, I am pleased to report no injuries or damages occurred during yesterday's lockdown."


(courtesy KARK, Little Rock)

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