Department of the Air Force police officers now at base gates Published Oct. 16, 2009 By Carl Bergquist Air University Public Affairs MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Visitors to Maxwell-Gunter may have noticed a change at the gates. Once manned by contracted guards, the gates now have Department of Air Force police officers. The 22 new officers began duty at the base Sept. 14, and are being trained to handle all the duties of 42nd Security Forces Squadron officers, said John Huffman, the lead DAF police officer. "Many of the Air Force major commands are acquiring DAF police officers, and the Department of Defense considers these officers to be in key positions, or essential to national defense and homeland security," he said. "This is due to military law enforcement members being stretched so thin these days, and our officers go through all the same training as Air Force security forces, allowing them to step in for SFS units when needed." Mr. Huffman said DAF police are general service government employees working for the Department of the Air Force and are held to a higher standard then contract gate guards. They must meet all the requirements of security forces members except deployment. "The selection process is competitive, and our officers have to meet the basic standards of medical health, physical fitness and weapons proficiency as prescribed by the Department of the Air Force before even being hired," he said. "This provides a more professional force that can be held to a higher standard." Mr. Huffman, a retired Marine, said he can personally vouch for the physical fitness of the force because he does physical training with his officers, and they are required to attend the same domestic violence training as SFS members. The officers also receive Air Force level weapons and emergency procedure training. "The training is two-fold in that DAF officers receive on-the-job training here at Maxwell-Gunter as well as attending a five-week police academy in Little Rock, Ark.," he said. "Most of our officers are veterans with five or six of them being retired military from all branches of the service. Only five of the 22 have not had military experience, but do have law enforcement experience." Mr. Huffman said he is pleased with the force. "So far, we have received a lot of good comments, and response to our DAF officers has been very positive," he said.