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Tinker wins partnership award

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Tinker's reputation for excellence extends beyond the perimeter fence.

Recently, the City of Midwest City nominated Tinker for a 2013 Association of Defense Community award. The award recognizes "an installation whose efforts to build strong partnerships with the local community, region or state on issues including promoting installation efficiency and innovation, enhancing community-military partnerships and advancing DOD's energy goals."

Tinker won the ADC's Department of Defense Installation of the Year award. ADC selects only one installation in the DOD each year.

In November 2012, Tinker and local community members began discussing beneficial partnerships. They brainstormed several and brought two to fruition. Because of the harmonious relationship, Tim Lyon, assistant city manager of administration for the City of Midwest City, nominated Tinker.

"When the opportunity to nominate Tinker for Installation of the Year came about, we immediately thought of submitting Tinker," said Mr. Lyon. "Tinker is so deserving of this award and base officials are dealing so much with budget ramifications and what they have to do to keep the base running."

Tinker's primary community partners are Del City, Midwest City and Oklahoma City, as well as Oklahoma County.

Partnerships that have already been implemented and have shown immediate benefits for Midwest City and Tinker are jail services and juvenile services. Other areas are being evaluated.

"The Community Projects that Tinker leadership has engaged with its surrounding communities are examples of cost savings projects that are being studied by other military installations across the United States," Mr. Lyon said.

"These projects are viewed as leading edge solutions by the DOD as it relates to the future budgetary constraints facing the military. Tinker leadership should be commended for their creative and innovative solutions that far exceed other military installations in the United States."

The jail services partnership could save Tinker at least $4,000 annually in travel costs by allowing Tinker inmates to use Midwest City jail facilities versus traveling 50 miles away to another facility. In return, Midwest City will be paid for inmate lodging.

Tinker's juveniles will also be able to take advantage of Midwest City's juvenile counseling system within the city police department should the convening authority decide it is appropriate.

If a youth is sentenced to the program, parents or guardians are responsible for the associated costs. Prior to the partnership, Tinker's options were limited and were only applicable for punishing the lesser offenses.

"Partnerships are really critical for the Air Force right now because we are at a reduced level of service right now," said Geri Hart, 72nd Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Directorate asset manager.

"When we talk about these partnerships and what makes them work we can leverage what the city is already doing and have them do these services for us at a reduced cost. The savings from these mutually beneficial services, can be placed in another area to help fund much needed services for Tinker Airmen."