With national security on the minds of many Americans after an Army recruitment center was attacked, and four marines killed in Chattanooga, Tennessee, some local servicemen and women have reason to be concerned.
One local Army reservist who spoke on the condition of anonymity, because he feared losing his position in the Army, said he feels unsafe at the B.T. Collins Army Reserve Center in Sacramento. He believes the center is vulnerable to an attack similar to one that struck Chattanooga.
“There are extremists in every state, every city…The exact same thing could happen here."
He says the problem starts right at the gate. The security fence guarding the facility is often left unguarded and wide open. It should automatically close and lock, but the reservist says it’s been malfunctioning for the past five years.
In addition, he says federal regulations barring army reservists from carrying weapons on the base puts them in danger.
"There's no means of communication if something did happen. No way for soldiers to protect themselves in the case that they were confronted by an armed individual," the reservist said.
"There's only so much we can do as a stand-alone facility. That's where we really rely on our partnership with local police,” said Army Major Jeremy Bukowczyk, commandant at B.T. Collins.
Bukowczyk acknowledged there have been security issues at the center but says measures have been heightened, and in general, security is much improved. He says the malfunctioning gate the reservist complained about had been repaired last week, and that the center’s electronic security mechanism had gone through an overhaul.
"We're about as secure as we can be. We'll continue to increase security measures as we can,” Bukowczyk said.
Bukowczyk says random "terror checks" are done every few weeks, providing an extra security measure. During these sweeps, armed officials periodically monitor the outer edges of the base.
The reservist says he doesn’t think these measures are enough to protect the men and women who've volunteered to serve our country.
Near the Army reserve center are a National Guard and a Navy post. The reservist worries because he says the amount of servicemen and women in the area totals in the thousands.