Avoiding criminal investigation 101

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The mission of Air Force Office of Special Investigation is to identify, exploit and neutralize criminal, terrorist and intelligence threats to the Air Force, the Department of Defense and the U.S. government.

AFOSI Detachment 410 takes great pride in conducting this mission at Laughlin. We investigate anyone who is a potential threat to Laughlin members and resources. We love our job and welcome the assistance of anyone that wants to work with us to protect our most valued resource, "people." This is why it is important to share with Airmen the secret of how not to become a subject of a criminal investigation.

The majority of AFOSI criminal investigations fall into the categories of sex crimes, fraud, drugs, and assault and death investigations. Since 2005, Detachment 410 has conducted 43 criminal investigations involving each of the above categories. I cannot tell you what made these individuals commit these crimes, but I can tell you that each individual had a choice to make before they conducted the criminal act. This was a simple choice to do or not do the crime. In most cases the choice was made with an impaired mind. In a large number of these cases the impairment to make a smart choice resulted from the use of alcohol. I encourage Airmen who choose to drink alcohol to know their limits and drink responsibly. Realize that drinking alcohol is not an excuse and does not justify the criminal act. Is not drinking alcohol the secret to not becoming a subject of a criminal investigation? Possibly, but drinking responsibly and knowing your limits can just as easily help keep any Airman out of a bad situation.

Airmen who become subjects of criminal investigations have in some way deviated from the Air Force Core Values of "Integrity First", "Service before Self" and "Excellence in All We Do." When deviating from the core values, these Airmen were usually not alone. They were in the presence of other Airmen that they considered friends. Ironically, most people know when their friends are a bad influence or constantly getting in trouble on and off duty. I recently heard an old Spanish proverb that translates into "Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are." Now let's put this into context. If you are a top notch Airman but choose to associate with individuals that are known to be involved in criminal activities, your supervisors, first sergeants, commanders and even law enforcement officials may assume you are also involved in criminal activity. The risk of getting caught involved in criminal activity directly or indirectly is not worth losing your integrity, career, freedom, and in some cases your life. Is the secret to not becoming a subject of a criminal investigation being careful how you choose your friends? Possibly, but be careful not to push people away too quickly because you may be the positive influence they need to make better choices.

The secret to not becoming a subject of a criminal investigation is...there is no big secret on how NOT to become a subject of a criminal investigation! I know you are thinking...I knew she was going to say that. But this is the truth. We all have choices to make. If you make the right choices, you should never have to worry about becoming a subject of a criminal investigation. If you need help with making choices or you already made a bad choice and need help getting back on track, talk to people you can trust, like a supervisor, first sergeant or commander. If you are aware of criminal information I encourage you to make the right choice and report it!