FORT IRWIN - In the wake of concerns about the flow of information and post security, officials at Fort Irwin will soon put in place a series of measures to create a more informed and safer community.

Brig. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard outlined the expected changes to Fort Irwin's information and security systems in a sit-down interview on Monday, during which he spoke openly about the level of crime on post.

"Statistically, we have one of the safest communities in the Army; one of the safest communities in America," he said.

Of the 23 assaults reported thus far in 2007, Pittard said only five are still under investigation. Of the total, only four were rapes, he said, which all occurred in the post's barracks. However, he said, one attack is too many and took responsibility for the lag in getting pertinent crime information to the community.

"We can do a much better job of getting the word out," he said. "We've been so secretive based on a need to know, but people have asked to know, so let's tell them."

Pittard said the post will unveil a 10-point safety plan at a town hall meeting scheduled for Nov. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the Ingalls Recreation Center. In addition to the 10 point plan, he said the post will develop six ways for people to receive up-to-date information about situations on post. Pittard hopes to make us of e-mail, a satellite television station, a radio station, post newspaper High Desert Warrior, a post-wide public address system and an improved chain of command structure to alert people as to what is going on at Fort Irwin and recent crimes that have been reported.

Concerns rose on post after a woman was assaulted in her home on Oct. 18. Despite efforts on post to notify people about the assault, many did not find out about it until traffic backed up leaving Fort Irwin that night while security officials searched for the perpetrator. Pittard said the investigation into the incident is continuing. Fort Irwin officials have released an updated composite sketch of the man in question.

The e-mail system will be two-fold, Pittard said. For people on government-issued computers, Pittard hopes to use a system similar to one in place at Camp Victory in Iraq to alert the community of mortar and other attacks. For civilian computers, Pittard wants to establish an e-mail alert system so people can be notified of changes or situations that develop. The High Desert Warrior will also begin printing the police logs, crime statistics and a CrimeStoppers hotline to report crime. The Desert Dispatch will begin printing similar information.

Pittard said the measures, some which were planned before the Oct. 18 assault and some that have come about as a result, will make Fort Irwin unique among military communities. The closeness of the community and isolation from Barstow makes Fort Irwin similar to a small college campus, he said. In that regard, the entire Fort Irwin community needs to take ownership of the post's safety.

On the security side, Pittard said the post will begin conducting its own background checks of contractors. Neighborhood watches will be restructured, he said. He has also increased patrols of the neighborhoods at night and assigned soldiers to different neighborhoods to conduct courtesy patrols if needed.

The extra patrols will be out on Wednesday night for trick-or-treating. Pittard said he intends to take his two boys out for the annual candy dash and has talked to many families who will do the same.

Reward offered
Fort Irwin is offering a $7,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the attempted sexual assault on Oct. 18. The person is described as a Hispanic man, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing about 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark colored T-shirt, jeans and white gloves.

Anyone with information can call CID Special Agent John W. Dunlap at 380-4934 or CID Special Agent-in-Charge Anneliese Floyd at 380-5882 or the Military Police at 380-4444. To remain anonymous, call WeTip at 1-800-78-CRIME.

CG's Hotline
To report a problem, voice a concern or request information, people at Fort Irwin can call the Commanding General's hotline at 380-5463 or e-mail: IRWIN-cghotline@conus.army.mil.
If a staff member does not answer the phone, leave a message and someone from Pittard's office will respond in 24 to 48 hours.