Extra security precautions instituted since the September 11th attacks continue at the Rock Island Arsenal in eastern Iowa. Spokeswoman Vicki Stapes says although six thousand people work there, the island also has bridges to both banks of the Mississippi River.
People can take one bridge from Rock Island, Illinois, and from the island take a second bridge on across to Davenport, Iowa. Stapes explains nobody will get into the arsenal for a casual visit, though. Access is restricted all the time, visitors don’t get in without a specific event, and even workers show a badge whenever they go in. The tight security is nothing new at the western world’s largest weapons-making center.
Only after the Berlin Wall came down did some posts lighten up security, and now it’s tightened back up again, but she says workers don’t mind. Stapes says weapons are only one reason to keep the Rock Island Arsenal under tight watch.
It’s the second-largest contributor to the community, putting almost 516-million dollars a year into the local economy, but she says it’s also an “insurance policy” for the whole nation. Stapes says about half the island’s six thousand workers live on the Iowa side, half in Illinois. Fifty-eight homes on the island are owned and occupied by military officers.