To Protect and Serve: Department of the Air Force Police share same mission as 78th SFS officers

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • Robins Public Affairs
There is a misconception about the Department of the Air Force civilian police officers at Robins Air Force Base. They are not security guards. The 26 civilian police officers are fully qualified to perform the same duties as the 78th Security Forces Squadron military officers.

In fact, the department is headed up by the 78th SFS. 

"It is the same exact job except they wear a military uniform and we wear our civilian uniform," said Scott Mitchell, supervisor of the DAF police force here.

The biggest benefit to having a civilian police force is the consistency. The officers know the traffic patterns, base officials, and they can help in training new airmen in the security forces field.

"A lot of times, literally, we are working side by side," said Mitchell, who spent 24 years in civilian law enforcement.

His department has people from a variety of backgrounds including a former Marietta police officer and a former narcotics officer.

Mark French was formerly in the Marines and then transferred to the Air Force to the security forces job field.

He hopes to erase the stigma that the uniformed officers are just security guards and have no jurisdiction. Officers patrol, provide security checks at all the buildings and man the entrance gates.

"We try every day to better Robins Air Force Base," French said. 

"Our purpose is not to write tickets. Our purpose is resource protection and public safety."  

Although they issue citations, there are no quotas for traffic tickets. The department sees no money from fines or citations.

"It goes into a federal depository," said Ryan Payne, a training officer and temporary supervisor.

The officers hope that getting a citation would be a learning opportunity and that someone wouldn't commit the same offense repeatedly.

The officers welcome questions as well. French stressed that a police officer is not an enemy, they are there to help.

Mitchell agreed, "We are out there to protect and serve."