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A New TSA Conundrum
- To: "'help@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx'" <help@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: CAA: Mutual Help List, A New TSA Conundrum
- From: Barclay Dick <bdick@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2002 18:00:10 -0700
- Reply-To: help@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Sender: help-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
TSA's IFSR in Tucson has advised us that TSA had two different protocols to
resolve a security checkpoint ETD positive alarm. One protocol was for a
federalized checkpoint, at which the federal screener would contact the
federal LEO to resolve the alarm. The other protocol applied to a
checkpoint with contractor screeners and a GSC. That protocol had the
screener refer the alarm to the GSC for resolution.
The TUS IFSR now advises us that TSA has eliminated the second protocol. As
a result, if a screener has an ETD alarm on a piece of carry-on baggage,
that alarm is referred to the LEO, who is required to resolve the alarm. In
Tucson, the LEO is a Tucson Airport Authority police officer or an off-duty
officer from another local jurisdiction. So, our IFSR is directing the
airport police to search the carry-on baggage to resolve the ETD alarm.
This is a new wrinkle and causes us some concern.
1. Is there a 4th amendment right issue with the LEO searching the
2. Does the airport assume any liability for a passenger who misses
his/her flight due to the search of the carry-on articles by our officer?
3. If the airport LEO determines that there is cause to have the
passenger's checked baggage removed from the flight for inspection, causing
a delay in the flight departure, does the airport assume any liability?
4. If the airport LEO determines that the passenger may proceed with
his/her carry-on baggage and there is a subsequent incident caused by the
passenger with his/her carry-on material, has the airport assumed any
Operationally this presents some problems for us, too. We will not expect
an off-duty LEO from another jurisdiction to resolve an ETD alarm. Thus, if
there is an off-duty LEO at the checkpoint satisfying the requirements of
the MOA with TSA, an airport LEO will have to respond to resolve the ETD
alarm. Or, if it is an airport LEO at the checkpoint, we won't want the LEO
to be distracted by the ETD resolution issue and miss another problem, so we
will have a second airport LEO respond during the resolution of the ETD
Please understand that this new requirement for the LEOs has not come by way
of a Security Directive. In fact, we requested our IFSR to have this
requirement put in writing to us and he declined. He did allow our Police
Chief to read the protocol but would not let him copy it to show airport
management because it is a sensitive document.
One possible scenario we can imagine is an ETD alarming due to
nitro-glycerin tablets carried by a passenger. The passenger would explain
that he/she has a prescription for the tablets. Our LEO would ask the
passenger for the prescription. The passenger would reply that the
prescription is not present. The officer would then ask to see the
prescription container for the tablets. The passenger would explain that
the tablets are kept in a pill box and not in the prescription container.
The LEO would then advise the airline that the passenger's carry-on caused
the ETD to alarm due to the presence of nitro-glycerin. The LEO would
further explain that the passenger reported to have a prescription for the
tablets but could neither produce the prescription nor the prescription
container. The airline could then decide whether or not to let the
passenger proceed on the flight. Of course, by then, the flight might have
Is the protocol the TUS IFSR has directed our LEOs to observe correct? Is
it the protocol TSA has in place at all airports without federal LEOs? Or,
has our IFSR misunderstood direction from TSA headquarters?
Any light that anyone shed on these questions will be greatly appreciated.
Barclay Dick, A.A.E.
Vice President, Operations & Safety
Tucson Airport Authority
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