Truck drivers react to increased Navy base security

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — New screenings at Naval Station Norfolk are affecting how much time it takes TWIC users to gain access to the base.

The Navy now requires drivers with a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) get a background check. The change was announced this week and comes after a civilian driver got on base, and killed MA2 Mark Mayo last week.

Big rig drivers say the new security screening causes a big delay in their work day. Many reported an increase in the time they sit at the inspection station.

“Probably about 30 to 40 minutes more,” said one driver. “But I’m getting used to it, because I’m over here every day.”

A waste management driver said the added time may not seem like a lot, but his company has had to call in other drivers to help him finish his route when he is delayed: “I have to get help now, have more than one person come on the base. But, I think it’s a good thing because I don’t want anything to happen to anyone.”

The Navy said the new screening for TWIC users should only take about five minutes. It involves checking drivers names and social security numbers in the National Crime Information Center database. Criminal history and outstanding warrants are grounds for denial at the gates, including felony convictions in the last 10 years and misdemeanor convictions in the last 5 years, involving violence, larceny, drugs, habitual offenders and sex offenses.

“Very hard [to get in],” said one driver. “But they should have been doing it a long time ago.”

Some drivers wonder why the restrictions weren’t in place before the base shooting, but say they are happy to have them in place now. The only downside is all that waiting.

“I just wait,” said one driver. “Cant get mad. What are you going to do?

A Navy spokesperson said the inspection station usually closes between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on a normal business day. If TWIC users need access after that time, the new screening will be done at the gate.

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