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On Dangerous Ground: A new precedence will protect both our history and National Security

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An 80-year effort comes to fruition as our law enforcement community grows stronger

YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - As a long-time resident of the Desert Southwest, I consider myself very fortunate with regard to our area's law enforcement presence.

Although our peace officers wear different uniforms in moments of despair they come together to protect. So, the news of our new jurisdiction designation comes as a sigh of relief.

To say that the Desert Southwest is pro-military would be an understatement. Home to two air bases and a top-tier testing facility.

But, up until now, officers with the Yuma Proving Ground Police Department were limited in what they could do to violators. Now, when it comes to military personnel, officers can cite them.

The issue lies with civilians who defy warning signs and enter the base's testing sites. Some do it as recreation unaware of the hidden dangers.

According to Chief Donnie Lucas, some have entered the installation and leaked sensitive information which could be damaging to our National Security. YPG is primarily used to test a variety of new tech including weapon systems.

The base which extends close to a million acres was built during World War II and was used to train troops and test the latest weapons. Now, some of these munitions that were tested are still out there.

Chief Lucas spoke of an incident involving a trespasser who discovered several unspent artillery rounds. According to Lucas, the man took these rounds home and placed them in his front yard as a decoration. The story then goes on to say that a former explosives expert noticed the rounds and discovered they were live rounds.

Lucas said that the munitions were returned to the base, but many of these artifacts are almost a century old and can be unstable. Luckily, nothing happened to and from the man's home.

So, it's stories like these that Chief Lucas says Concurrent Jurisdiction is vital to the protection of the base's efforts and the preservation of our historic artifacts.

On July 1, the Yuma Proving Ground Police will now have the authority to cite those who trespass on federal land and/or commit crimes along roadways along the base boundaries.

The designation was only made possible through a partnership between Arizona Governor Douglas Ducey and the Department of the Army.

Article Topic Follows: Military
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Joe Teposte

Award-Winning Photojournalist, News Professional Trainer, Production, Writer, 20+ Years in Yuma News.

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