NORFOLK -- Some modest but common sense security changes in the wake of last month's fatal shooting of a sailor at Naval Station Norfolk have led to some big results for the Navy.
48 people attempting to use Transportation Worker Security Credential (TWIC) cards to gain access to bases in the Navy's Mid-Atlantic Region in Virginia, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island have been turned away in the last three weeks – since the Navy implemented new enhanced security procedures.
"I think the processes were very effective in identifying those who really need to have access to our installations and those that should be denied," said Captain Kirk Hibbert, Commander Navy Mid-Atlantic Region Public Safety Program Director.
"We live in a time when things are changing very rapidly and to be able to bring together a team and say, what just happened? And to identify those areas we can try to tighten up on, we were able to put something together in a very short matter of time."
Under the new rules, nobody with a felony conviction in the past ten years, or a misdemeanor in the last five for certain crimes, can get into bases with a TWIC card.
In Hampton Roads, the most denials took place at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story; 21 people were turned away there.
11 people were denied access at Naval Station Norfolk, six at Norfolk Naval shipyard, four at Yorktown Naval Weapons Station and two at Naval Air Station Oceana.
The changes were put into place following the March 24 shooting death of Master at Arms Second Class Mark Mayo, aboard the USS Mahan at Pier One at Naval Station Norfolk.
The shooter, Jeffery Tyronne Savage, had voluntary manslaughter and crack cocaine convictions in his past, yet, he was in possession of a TSA-issued TWIC card when he gained access to the base. The NCIS has said Savage had no known legitimate business at the base that night.
Former Naval Station Norfolk commanding officer Joe Bouchard says the changes the Navy has put into place should be standard at all military installations.
He says he's confident in the Department of Defense to make any needed security adjustments, but says, "The worry I have is on the civilian side, the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA. They may not feel the same sense of urgency as the D.o.D does."
Virginia Senator Mark Warner promises to keep the heat on.
"It's going to be an on-going process but I'm going to stay on it," Warner said. "Because anybody who's defended our country and put their lives in harm's way in Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere around the world ought to be able o come home and go to work at a military base in America and feel safe."