Synopsis: Lt. Col. Scott Wile, Director of Public Safety and Provost Marshall at Ft. Rucker, Alabama explains the military’s public role while assisting in law enforcement efforts at a shooting incident in southern Alabama on Mar 10th. It is unclear from this transcript whether the military was acting in a law enforcement role or not during the incident. Also of interest is LTC Wile’s response when asked about his oath to the Constitution, and, specifically, his personal beliefs about the Second Amendment. Much commentary about this topic by Jones and callers during the show.
//interview begins sometime into either the 2nd or 3rd hour of the 3/11/2009 broadcast//
LTC W: //cuts in// the incident took place and all of the local aw enforcement from the state of Alabama responded. It happened in several different cities. It was a very ugly situation. And it was going to be a long, drawn out situation. So, here, in southern Alabama, we have mutual aid agreements with all of our local surrounding communities where they support us when we need help. We support them. We’ve had several natural disasters in the past such as a hurricane and a tornado. And we support each other in times of need. So, when this happened, we called down to one of the local police departments and offered our assistance. And they said, “Absolutely. We could use the military police.” So we went down. And all we did was provide a support role where we went…we took 20 MPs down there. The local law enforcement and the state law enforcement were establishing a cordon and taking care of the area. So we just provided support, went in. And allowed those…the state and local law enforcement folks to go and take a knee and drink water, go and get some food, just rest for a little while. We took their posts for them. And then when they came back, we moved on to other places to see where we could assist.
AJ: So did ah…so the Army contacted the police departments. Was this while the hour-long rampage was going on? Over 20 plus miles? Or did you contact them after they’d already…after he’d already killed himself?
LTC W: Yes, sir. It was after. After the event. When we realized that this was gonna be a major undertaking, then what I did was I called and offered my assistance. And the police chief took me up on it. And we called in the soldiers and drove down there.
AJ: Perhaps you can shed some more light because we’re getting conflicting stories. One sheriff’s deputy is reporting he had a fully automatic AK-47. Or was it semi-automatic? Or do you know?
LTC W: No sir. I don’t have any idea. I didn’t get involved in any part of the investigation or the active part of the law enforcement piece. All we provided was some security at some posts. And we provided relief forces for the guys that were working it.
AJ: Well being there in Alabama, you probably have a clearer picture of this…and then having your people on the ground…than we do. Boiling it down. What happened?
LTC W: Ah, yeah. Sir, I’ll tell you, you’re…what you’re hearing in the news is the same thing that we heard. I didn’t get involved in any part of the investigation. The true heroes were the local and state law enforcement from Alabama. And all we did was just go down there and…the exterior part of the cordon. We just relieved the guys that were blocking traffic and protecting the area.
AJ: Now, when you talk about mutual agreements with the county…previously, we hear about hurricanes or earthquakes or things like that. Certainly with the National Guard and things. But under Posse Comitatus…that still enforces in it to have the military out involved with law enforcement?
LTC W: Yes sir. And we don’t provide any kind of law enforcement role off of the installation. We didn’t go down there in a law enforcement role. What we did was we went down and just…we took our military police because we’re readily available.
AJ: I understand.
LTC W: …just went down and in a support role, we just took up posts for folks to rotate them so that we could…they could get out, get a place to go sit down, get something to eat, and then get back and take their posts.
AJ: No. I understand
LTC W: We didn’t provide any kind of law enforcement activity at all.
AJ: OK. The reason people ask that is we’ve all heard about NORTHCOM and the new 20 thousand troops for brigade homeland. I’m sure you’ve heard about that?
LTC W: Yes sir.
AJ: And how the Army War College says they are preparing for civil unrest. And so we see more and more reports about the Marines in California at DWI checkpoints and the Army assisting in drug interdiction and things like that inside the United States. So that’s…that’s why we were bringing that up because we see this happening more and more. Previously, if there was a shooting going on in Alabama, would the regular Army respond to that?
LTC W: Well sir. We wouldn’t respond to it. We would not…we would never respond off the installation in a law enforcement role. What we will provide though is a support function.
AJ: I understand.
LTC W: We will provide assistance to our partner community.
AJ: Sure. So military police though, setting up checkpoints, stopping traffic going through. That is not a law enforcement role?
LTC W: Yes sir. That is a law enforcement role. And that, we would not do here at Fort Rucker. I can’t speak for what NORTHCOM or the Army War College is trying to put together. But here at Fort Rucker, we would not do that.
AJ: No. No. But I’m looking at photographs of police blocking the…military police, Army military police blocking the road.
LTC W: Yes sir. All we were doing was enforcing the cordon.
AJ: I understand.
LTC W: And just directing traffic around it. We weren’t stopping anybody. We weren’t engaging anybody. We were just directing traffic.
AJ: OK. And what does…Fort Rucker is mainly Army aircraft support. Isn’t it?
LTC W: Yes sir. It’s the home of the Army aviation center.
AJ: Well, we know the folks in Alabama are great people. And we know the military are great people. It’s just there’s been big national debates about the larger and larger presence of military. And it was just interesting to see this in a report. We’re glad that more people weren’t killed. But sadly, 10 people is quite a lot. How’s the community taking this right now?
LTC W: Yeah. Sir, like everything else, the community is…they’re supporting each other. They’re taking care of the families of the affected people. And everybody’s pulling together to provide whatever it is that’s needed.
AJ: Well, in closing, we’re talking to Col. Scott Wile. Any thing else you think is important to add here, sir, or that you can tell us?
LTC W: Yeah. No sir. I’d just like to, one more time, reinforce that the true heroes in this situation were all of the state and local and federal law enforcement folks that are in the southern part of Alabama. And we were just happy to be able to provide them some assistance.
AJ: Now, specifically, they cornered him and then had a shootout and he killed himself? Or did they shoot him?
LTC W: Yes sir. I don’t have any of the facts of the case. Like I said, I was purely in a support role where we just went down and did what we could to help out.
AJ: Oh, so you were there yourself.
LTC W: Yes sir.
AJ: Wow. Were you on duty then or did you have to throw your uniform on quick and…
LTC W: Sure. Yeah. I just had to respond with it. As the Provost Marshall, these are all my guys and this was a place that we needed to be and in order to make sure that we provided the exact assistance that was within our limits. We went down and took care of business.
AJ: Well, we appreciate you sir, Colonel. All I know is I made a film. And in it we have the photographs and news articles during Bayfest in Alabama where the Alabama Defense Force was out searching little kid’s bags to go into the city. And that’s the type of stuff that we don’t like under the Constitution. And there’s a lot of calls to restrict the Second Amendment right now because of this shooting. And I just hope that the military will protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.
LTC W: Yeah. Sir, I’ll tell you. That was…you just said a great deal of stuff and I…I don’t have a comment on that. I didn’t…I have nothing to say about that. I can just talk about the specific incident that we dealt with last night and the support that we provided to the local law enforcement here in southern Alabama.
AJ: Yeah. But you personally believe in the Second Amendment. Don’t you?
LTC W: Sir. My personal opinions have no bearing here whatsoever. Hey, sir. I appreciate you contacting me and giving me an opportunity to chat with you for a while, but I gotta run.
AJ: OK. Col. Scott Wile, thanks for joining us from Fort Rucker there in Alabama. Take care.
LTC W: OK sir.