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Shaw security makes traffic stops in area out of their jurisdiction

November 10, 2009

Shaw security makes traffic stops in area out of their jurisdiction

I have had a situation arise in regard to the closed section of Frierson Road across from Shaw Air Force Base that nobody at Shaw Air Force Base seems to be willing or able to answer sufficiently.

According to an article in The Item printed on Feb. 19, 2004, Maj. Mark Patterson, 20th Fighter Wing Judge Advocate’s Office, made the statement: “The road itself and everything to the north is in the state’s jurisdiction.” The Item said that Patterson also said that ‘when the gates went up to close Frierson Road, jurisdiction lines did not change, meaning the area is not in federal jurisdiction and base officials cannot issue traffic tickets to civilian drivers.’

Now, I ride a motorcycle, which is cheaper to operate than a car. I have queried both the public relations department at Shaw and the Security Police at Shaw. I was informed by both sources that I have to meet Shaw Air Force Base’s additional motorcycle safety equipment requirements before I am allowed to procede through gates the Air Force has placed across a state or county owned road to take my child to or from a county owned school. I was told that they would not let me “on base” without it.

This means I will have to purchase reflective gear and such, wear long sleeved shirts and gloves on hot days, and buy a D.O.T. approved helmet for myself, etc. to continue on my way on a public road that the Air Force has already admitted they have no jurisdiction over.

I was informed they could stop me on Frierson Road by the base, but could not write me a citation. I am sorry, but a lack of jurisdiction is lack of jurisdiction, period. I know that a Sumter police officer, for instance, cannot legally make a traffic stop in Charlotte, North Carolina, because it is out of jurisdiction, and I don’t see where Shaw security can legally perform a traffic stop on Frierson Road, as it is not within their jurisdiction.

From the statements made by Maj. Patterson, the gate at Frierson Road and 441 is not “on base,” and neither is Frierson Road, nor anything north of it, for that matter. At the east end of Frierson Road, in the mornings, the gate on Frierson is open to allow incoming traffic access to Shaw Heights and High Hills schools. But in the afternoons, the Air Force diverts civilians “onto base” for a distance of about 75 yards before merging back onto Frierson.

My question, which nobody at Shaw Air Force Base seems capable of answering, is: “If I take my child straight down Frierson in the mornings when the east end fence gate is open, and if I go through the west end gate in the afternoons to pick him up, at what point am I actually “on base” and subject to federal military regulations or the U.C.M.J. (Uniform Code of Military Justice), as I am a civilian on a civilian roadway? I can find no such jurisdiction over civilians listed in the U.C.M.J. as prescribed the United States Code, Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 47, Subchapter I, Article 802 where it lists persons subject to the U.C.M.J.

Under exactly what statute, code, law or other authority are civilians operating on a state or county owned road subject to the authority and scrutiny of the United States Air Force? How can I be required to answer to military regulations and purchase additional equipment when I am already operating on a state or county road completely legal under state laws already?

I’d like to see some response from Shaw Air Force Base in writing in The Item in regard to this, and also would like to know if the base is going to foot the bill for the extra equipment.


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