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Airman keeps San Antonio, Laughlin safe

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Steven R. Doty
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
Last year in San Antonio, Texas, and a couple of hours down the road from Laughlin Air Force Base, more than 16 hundred arrests were made. Of those arrests, more than 580 were gang-related and more than 200 firearms were taken off the streets. The credit for pushing gangs off of "Military City's" streets goes to the San Antonio Police Department Gang Unit, and to one Laughlin Airman.

When not in his Airman Battle Uniform, Air Force Reservist Master Sgt. Christopher Enfinger, 47th Security Forces Squadron alternate operations superintendent, serves as a patrol officer assigned to the SAPD Gang Unit with the monumental task of tackling gang-related activity.

"Our team is responsible for locating and documenting gang members and responding to any incidents that have indicators of gang-related activities in a safe and effective manner," said Enfinger. "Additionally, because we have the freedom to move around the entire city, we're available if law enforcement or first responders require additional police presence."

As one of only 25 officers, detectives, and sergeants assigned to track and monitor more than 10,000 gang members and over 30 different gangs in San Antonio, the job is an ongoing emotional and physical challenge for this 15-year Airman. However, he attributes the dedication and commitment he taps into every day, to his experiences and training as a security forces combat arms instructor in the Air Force.

"The training we go through in the Air Force from basic training to technical training, to the way we support and assist each other, makes working in a civilian entity that much easier," he said. "Structure, discipline and leadership, with the addition of supervision, served as added benefits for making the transition into [SAPD] very comfortable for me and advantageous for my new colleagues."

Enfinger also acknowledges techniques like weapons training and the "warrior mindset" attained in the Air Force, as essential tools for laying the foundation through his transition from a security forces patrolman to a San Antonio police officer.

The SAPD is not the only beneficiary to transitioning skills, in fact, Enfinger also brings a great deal back to the Air Force and his fellow security forces personnel whenever honoring his service commitment.

"I bring the leadership, supervisory and structure roles from the Air Force back to the [SAPD]; the "how we do what we do" piece," said Enfinger. "However, I am able to bring back a great deal of real-world experiences, updated techniques, tactics and procedures and training methods in areas like "active shooter", in real time that they may not otherwise get. It's this kind of service and commitment exchange that truly motivates me."

Service and commitment are not new concepts for Enfinger. Having previously served on active duty in the Air Force for eight years prior to transitioning into the Reserves, and now with the SAPD for the past five, pride is a necessity in this patriot's life.

"The pride is there, just in different ways," said Enfinger. "In one way, I'm responsible for working with a team [the Air Force] who is responsible for protecting on a global scale, and in another, I work with a team [the SAPD] who is responsible for protecting a city. Either way, I serve in a uniform predicated on protecting lives--that's my pride."

In addition to pride, maintaining civil order and discipline in a city that serves as a sort of hub, or focal point, for so many military service members and their families, motivates Enfinger to keep the streets safe. In particular, many of Enfinger's fellow Airmen from Laughlin routinely travel to San Antonio for weekend retreats, holiday vacations and various other personal and professional occasions; safety of "his people" is extremely important.

"The fact that San Antonio has such a large community presence of police, fire and military personnel, it's very important to me that I am a part of what is helping protect my own," he said. "They're not the bad guys, so making it better and safer for everybody is extremely important."

Whether here at Laughlin Air Force Base, or with the SAPD Gang Unit, Enfinger's commitment to protect and serve represents the intent of the Air Force Core Values and exemplifies the highest levels of dedication sworn to be upheld by every Airman who takes the Oath of Enlistment.
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