FORT LEE, Va. – Companies doing business on Fort Lee need to be aware of installation access requirements and address issues early, according to post leaders.
This call to action is in response to recent incidents where employees of said companies were denied access due to the results of criminal background checks required to enter the installation.
“In the first two months since the new access requirements were implemented, 566 people were denied entry to Fort Lee – a number of them were employees of moving, delivery, taxi and other companies with genuine business on the installation,” said Tony DeWitt, Director of Emergency Services. “Simply being aware of the access requirements and process can save companies time and money associated with these delays.”
The new access procedures went into effect June 15 to improve the safety and security of military personnel and their families, DoD employees and visitors on the post.
Individuals without an accepted form of DoD or federal identification are now required to undergo a criminal background check to enter Fort Lee. The checks are only conducted at the new Visitor Control Center adjacent to the Lee Avenue Gate. Its hours of operation are 5 a.m. – 11 p.m. weekdays, and 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. weekends and holidays.
Authorization for entry will be denied if the screening returns credible derogatory information indicating the individual may “present a threat to the good order, discipline and/or health and safety of the Army community.” Typically, this means a felony on their record within the past 10 years or three misdemeanors in the last five years.
Visitors with no derogatory information found during the screening should receive an access pass – valid for the period correlating to their business on the installation – in about 10 minutes. DeWitt said contractors and other personnel regularly conducting business on the installation may be eligible for an access pass that is valid for up to one year, provided they have appropriate justification and a government sponsor on the installation.
“Examples of derogatory information that result in denials of access include, but are not limited to: a felony conviction of sexual assault or rape, armed robbery, child molestation, production or possession of child pornography, trafficking in humans, and/or drug possession with intent to sell or distribute,” DeWitt said. “Registered sex offenders are also denied access.
“Anyone denied access may submit a request packet for a waiver,” DeWitt continued. “The waiver packet requires court documents and written descriptions of any rehabilitative steps taken since the conviction, as well as an explanation of why access to post should be granted.”
DeWitt noted that companies aware of employees who may have derogatory information in their background can ask them to gather the documents required to file a waiver request early. He said the waiver process will take about 10 working days if everything is in order.
“Good communication is the best way to identify potential problems that will result in frustration, or possibly denial of access, later on,” DeWitt said. “We’re trying to make this a transparent process that doesn’t result in needless inconveniences.”
The access policy and process can be found at www.lee.army.mil/access, and frequently asked questions about the process may be found at www.lee.army.mil/pmo/documents/Fort_Lee_Installation_Access_FAQ.pdf.
“We encourage businesses to read that information, particularly if the procedures impact them directly,” DeWitt said.