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Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Jon Quick

In response to your sister's co-workers statements I would like to add this. I have also spoken to Law Enforcement Officers who work with TSA on a daily basis and here is what they say. NO PROBLEM, THEY ARE SWORN FEDERAL OFFICERS (which the public doesn't seem to be aware of)and every organization has it's misfits (example: 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, LOS ANGELES AIRPORT POLICE OFFICER PLACES BOMB IN AIRPORT. Los Angeles Police Rampart Division Officers convicted on corruption charges and false arrest in several hundred cases, SHALL I GO ON ?)
No matter what department you look at, there will always be bad apples and until you know the facts about who works at TSA, DON'T JUDGE.
As for me, I work 2 jobs, one as a FEDERAL OFFICER with TSA, my other job is as a Flight Attendant for the past 29 years for one of the BIG 4 u.s. airlines. I am a former deputy sheriff in california, I am a commercial pilot and also a EMT. I have an associates degree and have extensive knowledge in aviation security.
Most (about 85%) of the people I work with at TSA have either prior military, law enforcement or aviation experience and most of them have either a 2 or 4 year college degree (just like police officers).
Yes we have some bad apples and yes they do stand out and make the rest of us look bad, BUT so do many Police Departments and we still let them carry guns and wear badges. All I have to say to these officers who are so worried about FEDERAL OFFICERS getting badges is this: ARE YOU INSECURE IN YOUR JOB ?


As an airport LEO I also work with TSA on a weekly basis. While I agree that many of them are good people with prior military or LE experience, I do not consider them "sworn" federal officers. I have never called a TSO a "federal officer." I think it is misleading to use these terms in describing them. Although I do believe they do a better job than those prior to 9/11, would you call the private contract security "sworn" officers? TSOs are Transportation "Security" Officers, nothing more, nothing less.


TSA are bag screeners, nothing more.

The pretty title with the word "officer" in it makes them feel above the public and almost like a real LEO. The plastic trinket badge will help reinforce this ideal to the bag screeners, clearly demonstrated by Mr. Quick.


I don't think TSO's are just baggage screeners, I believe they do more than just screen bags. I dont view them as "security" type guards either. I've seen them screen planes and do other duties, just from the times I've flown. I know they go thru extensive training ( maybe not law enforcement) but training on identifying bomb components and such. And as far as being sworn in, My sister works for TSA and she raised her right hand and sworn in to serve and protect our country. My sister, including myself are prior Army ( military police) and we both are educated w/ BA's. and she is actually working on her Masters. It seems only LEO's are having issues w/ the whole badge thing. I think we should show them some respect since they do catch loaded weapons, knives and other prohibited items from getting on planes. ( who needs a load gun on a plane anyways). You can actually read all about this on DHS/TSA websites ( very interesting I might add). I'm getting off subject here, My point is, Calm down, new uniforms/ badges or whatever, just show respect, they keep us very safe and I am very grateful for the men and women in uniform, regardless the whole badge thing. I don't think TSA officers feel they are LEO's especially if the public and other LEO's who work with them keep reminding them how beneath they are then everyone else. I think TSA does a fine job, and I feel TSO's are more important in keeping us safe at the airports than the LEO's or anyone else (badge or no badge, or no gun)It just frustrates me how everyone is quick to put these Transportation "Screeners" down, God forbid if I call them Federal Officers. (LOL)
Thank you.


Technically they are Federal Officers and they are sworn in because I have seen pictures on the internest where groups of TSO's were raising their right hand. Jon Quick, I do agree with you that the former Private Security the airports had were not sworn because they do not work for a government entity, they were a for profit company providing a service to the airline industry. In 2001, the Federal Government decided they were not good enough (which they obviously were'nt) and created the TSA. Now we have government officials providing that service at a much better level. Yes, the TSA has had a few problems since its inception but they have become a great agency protecting our airways and I am very grateful to see them in our airports. I feel that some people have forgotten what happened on September 11, 2001.


unfortunately most of you have been misinformed. TSA screeners are sworn federal officer, sworn in by a TSA Director or someone in a similar position,and have the power to arrest. They receive an initial training perod of approximately 1 month then continue with approximately 4 hours of training every week throughout their career. i am a cop and was previously employed with TSA and DEA. please do your research before degrading people.


Yes, TSO's are sworn federal officers, but no TSO has any power of arrest short of a citizens arrest, but all Americans have that "power". Honestly I am a TSO and well frankly I was upset by the badges. I have seen little or no difference in public veiw or opinion from before or after the badges. Yes the badges are pretty "WOW" . I still feel that some poor TSO is going to stop at 7/11 to buy a pack of smokes and get confused for a LEO and end up shot, or worse play hero. On that same note many Federal LOEs turn in their firearms at the end of their shift and the same can happen to them. Also many private security firms have badges and uniforms based off of real law enforcement uniforms. The average Private Security officers badge is directly based off of LAPD's badge and could easily be confused. So a badge means little more then recognition. TSA has a bad habit of not taking pride in the accomplishment of TSO's. The media is the first to point out the problems with TSO screening. Like TSO's not finding 100 percent of IEDs and firearms. NO one ever pointed out that TSA still scores way hirer then any law enforcement agency at finding IEDs and firearms on an xray including US Customs. TSO's have scored far superior at finding and identifying IEDs the any SWAT team of Bomb Disposal unit in the US. I have yet to see that article in any news cast. If TSA gave us more credit for our achievements then maybe our moral would improve.

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I do not know one Federal, State or local LEO that turns in their weapon at the end of their shift. That is their protection and they carry it everywhere. TSO's ARE sworn federal officers and since I've seen TSO's carrying handcuffs, I beleive they have arrest powers. Just because someone doesn't have a gun doesn't mean they aren't an officer and can't arrest. And to the person who said that Military Police don't have arrest powers, you are an idiot.




Interesting discussion. In Canada, many if not all the Provinces have legislation which prohibits security professionals from wearing anything that resembles a police uniform including badges. Also let's not forget that the screener also has a customer service role to perform, and, having worn a uniform for 32 years(military), I can say that people are put off or intimidated by uniforms. And BTW uniforms dont make the person; polite, efficient, professional service does.


well not for nothing tso's are sworn in and hve the power to arrest when the situation calls for it. they are federal agents/officers and they are law enforcement agents. they just get a bad rap from stereotypes. i am a police officer and like anyhting it is an ego issue with police. they both deserve respect on the duties they perform. leave it as that no need to degrade tso's. maybe they don't go through a 14-16 week police academy but they learn things that police when never be able to learn. so they deserve respect in their own manner. they do allot and protect every person that gets on that plane, police are there to back up tso's if they are needed. airports have their own questioning room where they have federal agants questioning suspicious people. this is fact, this is a federal agency which is far superior then city,local or state law enforcement. it is a federal agency! now show respect!!


oh an by the way, tso's make allot more money then most police departments so job security is nice. put in a couple years and you will be doing fine.

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Regarding "... Any good police officer must be able to think like the average criminal. That's how we get into who they really are and what they are capable of. Frankly, it allows us to mirror what type of behavior they may exhibit. This ability comes from extensive and on going training on a quarterly basis by properly trained personnel." We as TSA Federal Officers do the same. They are called terrorists! Our cross training in the ablity to locate "threats" on an X-ray, our ability to know how to detect explosives,our cross training in behavior detection,and, our enforcement of Federal Regulaions pretty much gives us a DAMN GOOD right to were a shield. WE DO,"SERVE AND PROTECT". And with all due respect, the police and deputies that I have dealt with over the past 13 years never know what they are looking at when we need them at the x-ray, and they would not know a terroist from a terrier. We also have more ongoing training in 1 year than the average cop has in 10. Oh yeah, if the "cops" are all that, then why do you 9 times out 10 get someone in a clear violation at the airport...slap their hand...and then let them get on the plane??? Happens regularly nationwide. The TSA Federal Officers need full lawenforcement status to fulfill our oath of office and our shield.

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Wow, shocked to see that there were some comments over 2 years after TSA screeners got their shiny badges. I think the badges make the uniforms look a little more official and quite frankly, a badge is just a badge unless you're some sort of high-ranking official or of course you got a gun to go with that badge. Like someone else mentioned earlier, it's more for recognition than anything else. It wasn't meant to be used as a demonstration of authority (I hope). Security guards, private investigators, EMTs, etc. all get badges. What matters is the agency/department the person wearing that badge works for. Are TSOs "federal officers"?? Technically, yes. They have "officer" in their title and they work for the federal government. Are we talking the same ballpark as a "federal officer" from Federal Protective Services, Secret Service, Air Marshals, DEA, FBI, or any other federal law enforcement agency? Of course not!! With that said however, majority of those who work for TSA have their hearts in the right place and they genuinely do want to serve the public. It's the media and certain anti-government citizens who probably make it hard for TSA to shake it's bad rep. With time, it'll all change for the better.

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