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Vol. LXVII, No. 13
June 19, 2015

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Have a question about some aspect of working at NIH? You can post anonymous queries at (click on the Feedback icon) and we’ll try to provide answers.

Feedback: Recently, I’ve seen people dressed in military type uniforms on campus, but they do not look like U.S. military. Did the NIH Police get new uniforms? Why do they look so combat-like? NIH is supposed to be a welcoming place but the new look makes this look like an armed camp.

Response from the Office of Research Services: There have been many security-related events over the years such as the terrorist attack on 9/11, the Ft. Hood shooting, the Navy Yard shooting and the tragic event in Newtown, Conn., that impact how police departments operate. In most police departments, and at NIH as well, you no longer find all police officers in the same dress uniforms. The uniforms are now designed for the specific duties in which the officers may be engaged. The NIH Police have three basic dress types. The regular dress uniform is worn by officers executing basic police duties without regular involvement in collateral assignments. The second dress is a midnight blue uniform worn by canine officers and officers who may be engaged in assignments where they will be in contact with dirt or other debris. The third dress is an olive green uniform, not camouflaged as are military versions, worn by police who are members of the special response team. This dress allows for easy identification of these officers in case of an event where their expertise is needed.

Feedback: I read the Feedback answer regarding the Bldg. 31 escalators [NIH Record, May 22, 2015] with interest because I also wondered about both. The answer provided didn’t completely answer the question—why can’t the “C” wing escalator be used as a staircase? The person who sent in the question made a good point about the lack of reliable elevators in the “C” wing and being able to use that short escalator to walk up to the “B” wing would be helpful.

This escalator in the lobby of Bldg. 31C is slated to become a regular staircase.

This escalator in the lobby of Bldg. 31C is slated to become a regular staircase.

Photo: Carla Garnett

Response from the Office of Research Facilities: As previously reported, the C wing escalator will eventually be decommissioned and designs call for the replacement to be a fixed staircase. The currently inoperable escalator is not code-compliant for use as stationary stairs. Code requires that stairs have a graspable handrail and uniform risers, which an escalator does not have.

At present, three separate staircases service the C wing, including the additional fire safety stairwell built in 2008 to improve emergency evacuation ( 2008/03_07_2008/story4.htm).

Finally, maintenance reports researched by the Office of Research Facilities do not correspond with the assertion that the C wing elevators are unreliable. Reports indicate a single isolated day in the past year where the C wing had only one operating elevator for any period of time. Overall, these elevators have been performing as expected, and on most days, all four elevators are in operation.

Feedback: Why does the NIH Police force need so many parking spaces? They have tons of spaces in the old Bldg. 31 lot and recently acquired more that used to be for temporary parking. More police cars are parked in the garage. Given the push-back from the county on parking at NIH, where is the average Joe supposed to park? Many NIH’ers don’t have public transportation near their homes or, like me, work 50-60 hours a week, which makes carpooling difficult. It seems you have to get to campus earlier and earlier just to get a space, which is hard for parents with school-aged children. NIH is touted as a great place for the over-50 age group but what about those of us who aren’t seniors yet? What are we supposed to do?

Response from ORS: As a general practice, other than four spaces reserved in MLP-10, police vehicles should not park in general parking in the garage other than when the surface lot behind Bldg. 31 is being cleared during inclement weather. The NIH Police chief will reiterate to staff that, whenever possible, police vehicles should be parked in designated spaces only.

Feedback: There is a covered bus shelter containing a bench [across from Bldg. 3]. I saw a bus stopped there letting someone off, there is a sign saying it is an NIH shuttle and a phone number, yet the bus would not stop for me. If this is indeed not a stop it needs to be labeled as such to avoid confusion. If it is not used it should be removed.

Response from ORS: We are very sorry for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused you. The shelter you mentioned across from Bldg. 3, on Center Dr., is not a normal shuttle stop and had been labeled accordingly. Since you have brought this to our attention, we checked and discovered that the label was removed. We have now re-labeled the shelter as not being a regular shuttle stop.

The shelter was installed and belonged to Metro when they operated bus routes through the NIH campus prior to Sept. 11, 2001. We have used the stop for special contingencies and events. Currently, we are evaluating the need for this shelter since it is used infrequently for these special activities.

To assist you with shuttle information, visit the ORS Division of Amenities and Transportation Services (DATS) web site ( Pages/shuttle.aspx) to access all NIH shuttle schedules and stops. Also, visit from your mobile phone or smartphone to access “real-time shuttle arrival” predictions in a mobile-friendly format.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention; feel free to contact DATS for any transportation questions at (301) 402-RIDE (7433).

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