Turnstiles are next in the security of CPRA

Story and photo by Brandon O’Connor Assistant Editor

February 7th, 2019 | News, News and Features

The next step in securing the Central Post Restricted Area is underway.
The CPRA was instituted under former Superintendent retired Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr. to help protect the main cadet areas including most of the academic buildings, the barracks, the Cadet Mess Hall and Arvin Cadet Physical Development Center. The CPRA restricts vehicle access to two gates that require passes to get through and is supposed to limit pedestrian access to those with Common Access Cards or permanent Local Access Cards.
The multiple access points to the area has made it difficult to limit pedestrian access, but that will soon be changing. The West Point Directorate of Emergency Services is in the process of installing five turnstiles around the perimeter of the CPRA that will enable them to control pedestrian access to the area.
“During the academic day, the plan is they would be free-swinging turnstiles,” Lt. Col. Brian Heverly, director of Emergency Services, said. “Swing it both ways and come and go with no issues. After the academic day, you would need a card to get in. Right now, the thought process is from about 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., maybe even to 4 p.m. (they will be free swinging) depending on feedback from the dean and USCC as far as what they think.”
The addition of the turnstiles has been part of the plan since the CPRA was established, Heverly said, but they only secured the funding for the project last year. The goal is to have them all installed and turned on by R-Day July 1. They will then be able to use the summer to get a baseline of the foot traffic through each gate.
“I can’t impede or slow down cadet movement. They have a very short time between classes and you can’t screw with them going in and out and having to card individually around a turnstile,” Heverly said. “As we get into this and assess how these impact foot traffic and how these change that foot traffic flow, some of them may be card access all the time.”
During the day, when the turnstiles will be free-spinning to ease flow, the idea is they will serve as a visual deterrent to people who are not supposed to be in the CPRA such as those on tours and other visitors to post. In the event of a threat to West Point or Army establishments in general, the turnstiles can be locked down to limit access to CAC card holders or to shutoff access to the CPRA completely.
Cameras will also be installed at each turnstile location to monitor who enters and the turnstiles have the ability to count how many people are going through them to enable DES to make adjustments as needed depending on traffic flow.
“This isn’t being done in response to any specific threat or any new threat against campus or cadets or leadership,” Heverly said. “This is just a natural progression and a foxhole improvement that we are doing. We’ve got the CPRA, we do a good job with vehicles, but we don’t do as good of a job screening pedestrians as they are walking through, in and around the campus.”
Heverly said the plan is to also have guards posted at each end of Thayer Walk, as staffing allows, which will serve as the access points for people with LACs, who are coming to Jefferson Hall for research, perspective candidates on tours and others who need access.