Last week, at Orlando International Airport, a TSA agent was arrested and fired for taking cash out of a passenger’s purse. The AAAPO commends TSA for taking swift action to rectify this situation.
The passenger in question was pulled aside for additional screening but complained that she could not see her belongings during the pat-down search. This prompted the TSA agent who was inspecting the passenger’s bags to only slightly move so the passenger could see her luggage. After the pat-down, the passenger retrieved her bags and noticed money missing — as well as a large bulge in the shirt pocket of the TSA agent who screened her items. After she alerted the TSA to her concerns, it was discovered that the TSA agent who searched her bags had indeed stolen money from the passenger’s belongings.
Instances like this reinforce the need for an airport police officer to be stationed near the screening checkpoint, not only to help fortify and secure the screening checkpoint, but also to
help deter such actions.
“The TSA screening checkpoint is often a busy and chaotic area,” says Marshall McClain, co-founder of AAAPO and president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association. “This makes the screening area vulnerable for exploitation — whether it be by terrorists or by those looking to commit petty crimes. Having a law enforcement officer within 300 feet of the checkpoint not only protects travelers and TSA agents, but the presence of the officer also helps discourage criminal activity.”
“Airports are stressful places,” says Paul Nunziato, president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association and co-founder of AAAPO. “This passenger was alert and aware of her surroundings and, as a result, prevented a theft.However, most crimes like this go unnoticed — most passengers are focused on getting to their gate on time. So having airport police near the screening area serves as a deterrence factor for these types of incidents.”