SFS, Portuguese contractors secure Lajes together

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt Erica Horner
  • 65th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
One of the unique facets of any unit's mission at Lajes Field is that it requires partnership with our Portuguese hosts. The 65th Security Forces Squadron's mission is no different, as they join with the Esegur Security Team, a contracted security company. Together, they work to ensure military families and their property are safe and secure.

"Esegur plays a critical role in our efforts to secure US personnel and property," said Master Sgt. Keith Morales, 65th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent. "They provide constant security for both Beira Mar and Nascer do Sol housing areas, as well as report incidents and significant observations to the base defense operations center."

The need for a contracted security company developed in 2007 when Lajes housing area saw an increase in petty theft.

"[Thieves] were taking toys, cars and anything left unattended," said Sergio Leonardo, Esegur team supervisor. "With us patrolling the housing area twenty-four, seven, the crime rate has gone down. We know the map; we know the area; we have it in our heads, so it's easier to detect suspicious activities."

Esegur constantly provides surveillance for base housing areas, by foot or patrol car. They also complete training that is similar to that of military security forces members.

"Our cars are equipped with fire extinguishers and first-aid kits," said Leonardo. "We've been trained on anti-terrorism, first-aid and CPR. If we see an incident, we report it to security forces and they guide us."

Continuous communication between the security forces and Esegur teams is vital said Tech. Sgt. Charles Droddy, 65th Security Forces NCOIC of flight operations

"[Esegur] are linked to Security Forces by using portable radios," said Droddy. "They are on the same radio frequency as our on-duty security forces members, so they can inform us of any occurrences."

Not only do the Esegur security personnel conduct random patrolling and control unauthorized entries, they are also important when it comes to the safety of Lajes' children.

"We position ourselves so we can make sure the kids get home safe," said Leonardo. "Also, [we ensure] that no one approaches them and that they make it across the crosswalk safely."

Ultimately, any good security plan focuses on deterrence and Esegur provides that says Droddy.

"Their presence serves as deterrence against any possible criminal activity," said Droddy. "It forces potential offenders to reconsider any criminal thoughts."