Visitors control center is gateway to Robins

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The Visitors Control Center is the first stop people who aren't affiliated with the base make before being allowed to enter through the gates.

It's for that reason Tech. Sgt. Michael Garza, NCOIC of passes and registration, pushes his employees to maintain a high level of customer service.

Because Robins has a lot of civilians and contractors flowing in and out each day, Garza said the center has to act differently than many Air Force installations.

"We want them to feel really welcome," he said. "We're the first people they see."

The center - a VPP Silver Safe Site - is in Bldg. 219. Visitors sign in on a computer which allows the workers to know why they're here.

A worker from the desk calls individuals up and processes the request. Photos are also taken at the facility.

They process regular badges, restricted area badges, 72-hour passes for families and friends, and contractor work badges. They also issue badges for military and civilian family members.

Through the Defense Biometrics Identification System, background checks through the Georgia Crime Information Center can be done within a matter of minutes.

That allows the base to screen people before they even step foot on the installation.

"We're the frontline of defense - a filter to the base," Garza said.

Because DBIDS is connected throughout the Air Force, it's able to  flag fugitives and others, thereby preventing violent criminals from entering Robins or other bases.

Those who require access to the base need to bring two forms of identification, their automobile insurance card, social security card and the paperwork provided by their sponsor or employer.

Although wait times vary depending on the day and time, the average wait is between 10 and 15 minutes.