LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Of all the strange inexplicable encounters reported in the vicinity of Area 51 over the years, this one might be the biggest surprise of all.
It happened as we made the long drive across Tikaboo Valley toward the main entrance to Area 51, the secret base north of Las Vegas.
Security personnel guided vehicles as they arrived, and spoke in civil – almost friendly – tones.
Officer: “How many people in the car?”
KLAS-TV photographer Matt Adams: “Three.”
Officer: “Awesome. So we’re going to ask the vehicle to stay here.”
Adams: “Sure. Yeah, of course.”
Officer: “You’re welcome to walk down, and photograph and videotape, you know, as you wish.”
Off camera, the words, “Have a nice day” were heard.
The security forces that guard Area 51 are known by many names and for many things, but courtesy has never been one of them. That’s never been their job. The so-called camo dudes who lurk on hilltops and pounce on anyone who crosses the line into the base have taken a back seat for this week’s events, but security at the base has never been tighter.
“The word came down from the Pentagon, from either secretary of defense or secretary of the Air Force, the perimeter at Area 51 will not be penetrated. Period,” said aerospace journalist Jim Goodall.
The military has deployed extra personnel and special gear to make sure no one slips into the base. Sources have told us that non-essential base employees were told to stay home, so the familiar bus with blacked-out windows won’t likely be seen.
But they needn’t have worried.
Check out the command and communications center that’s popped up in the desert on the E.T. Highway. The entrance is protected by a massive Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department SWAT vehicle. Inside are dozens of mobile centers from different agencies, state local and federal.
This is what the gate into Area 51 looked like back in the mid ‘80s. Reporters could stroll up and capture video, no problem. That gate is now miles behind the outer edge of the base.
For this week’s events, both of the public entrances to Area 51 have been staffed with a round the clock law enforcement presence, along with other extras: a new gate where one never existed before, strings of barbed wire, special surveillance and communications equipment.
The officers we spoke to say everyone has been respectful of the line. They chit chat, snap photos, and leave. No one has been arrested for trying to storm Area 51.
And had anyone tried, even a large crowd, they would have faced serious challenges.
Goodall described a weapon no one would want to deal with.
“I heard they were bringing as much … as many non-lethal crowd control equipment as possible, microwave, and they call it brown sound. It’s a sound that hits and you relieve yourself in all your orifices. And that sort of … that sort of diminishes your enthusiasm for going through the fence line.”
As of late Friday afternoon, there had been only a handful of arrests — less than five – and only one serious traffic incident. Predictions of gloom and disaster haven’t materialized. The crowds at both events have been well behaved. No one has been dumb enough to try and storm into Area 51.
Matty Roberts, who got the ball rolling on all this activity with a Facebook post, is not expected to make an appearance.
In fact, Roberts isn’t welcome, according to law enforcement and some residents in the area.