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(Enlarge) A contract security guard at the Llewellyn post entry gate uses Mobilisa by Defense ID, a mobile, hand-held device used at gate checkpoints to verify identification in a matter of seconds. Beginning earlier this month, security guards at the installation's gates have been using the device. (Photo by Lisa R. Rhodes)

Earlier this month, security guards at all of the installation's gates began using a scanner to catch false, stolen or terminated forms of identification from people seeking access to Fort Meade.

Joseph Shinski, chief of the physical security division at the Directorate of Emergency Services, said the device, made by Intellicheck Mobilisa Inc., scans driver's licenses, passports and military identification cards in just a few seconds. It also instantly queries law enforcement and military databases and "Most Wanted" lists to prevent unauthorized access to the post.

"It enhances our law enforcement posture at the gates," said Charles McGee, chief of the Fort Meade Police. "It identifies people who should not be on Fort Meade property."

Since the scanning began, some people have been detained or denied access. Keith Willard, a legal assistant with DES, said, for example, people can be detained for an invalid driver's license or suspended car tags detected by ID-CHECK, a program that instantly reads and verifies information encoded on official government-issued identification cards.

In these cases, the driver's information is further investigated by DES to determine if the detection was valid.

Drivers also can be denied access to Fort Meade for any criminal act, Willard said.

DES first began using the scanner on a trial basis at some of the gates in 2007. Installation Commander Col. Daniel L. Thomas was briefed on the post's security measures last May and suggested the device be used on a wider scale.

Shinski said that when funding was made available at the end of this fiscal year, DES purchased enough devices to be used daily while the gates are open.

Complaints of vehicle backups at the gates due to the use of the device have been minimal. McGee said the benefits of using it outweigh the time it takes to scan all drivers at the gates.

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