Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Is this really a better checkpoint?

Blogger’s Note:

We thought you’d be interested in hearing directly from an officer first hand how some of the new technologies we’re putting in airports is affecting the job and in turn passengers’ experiences.

Below is the first installment of these first hand accounts. Enjoy:

“Are you kidding?” was my immediate answer. And it was the plain truth. It was how I answered the question “Is this really a better checkpoint?” from the most recent group of VIP’s that were touring the checkpoint where I work.

We have seen plenty of them recently. I work at BWI airport’s Pier B where two years ago Southwest Airlines redid the entire wing of the airport and in the last two months TSA has installed the Checkpoint Evolution.

There is a lot I like about it. And while the uniforms, badges, mood lights and music grab a lot of attention, for me the star of the show is the new X-ray machines.

We call them "ATIX" on the floor. Google that and you get the formal name “Advanced Threat Identification X-rays.” We got Baltimore’s first two at my pier and the whole airport gets them by June. TSA’s Web site says that we bought hundreds more to install nationwide this year.

Not much of that matters to me. What does matter is how much better my 30 minute rotation at the X-Ray is now. Start with the screens. High resolution flat screen monitors make picking stuff out tons easier. Plus they look right. Nobody will miss squinting into those huge, heavy 1982-era computer screens that look like they belong in a museum.

And we are probably doing only half the bag checks we used to because we now have two angles to view the bag. Plus we don’t need a TSO to lug the bag back to the front to rerun it anymore because the officer physically searching the bag has the same view as the officer doing the first screening. It is not as good as the COBRA machine we tested here last year that lets you spin the image on the screen. But it is very good and is a big step forward from where we were.

The automatic threat boxes help too. They pick up items we may not have focused our attention on that could possibly be explosives. This is just another tool that helps us do our job better.

On the downside, it is not lightning fast. And I’m not as fast with it as I was with the old X-Ray machines. Not yet. But in the meantime I will take the tradeoff any day. And so would any passenger that trusts us with their safety.

Paula Furman

EoS Blog Contributor

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glad you're getting better x-ray machines. Makes sense. (Although she also said that they're slower. Wonderful...)

But how much more would the COBRA machines cost? Your screener says they are better. Why not take the money spent on uniforms, badges, music, and mood-lighting and put it towards the better COBRA machines?

I know the TSA will say that stuff is contributing to another "layer" of security. But to many of us, its just trying to put lipstick on a pig.

Better x-rays = better security. Mood-lighting and music??? Oh yeah, I feel more secure already.

Anonymous said...

Paula said, "On the downside, it is not lightning fast. And I’m not as fast with it as I was with the old X-Ray machines. Not yet. But in the meantime I will take the tradeoff any day. And so would any passenger that trusts us with their safety."

Wow, all the discussion about improvements with line configurations and you're happy to slow things down?

Not my idea of a good tradeoff. And I don't "trust" you with my safety, I expect you to conduct your duties efficiently and courteously.

I'll wait for the statistics that show these whiz bang gizmos improve TSA's miserable performance on the security threat tests.

Anonymous said...

Do these posts get vetted for SSI?

txrus said...

Sorry, Paula-I don't trust you w/my safety, either, & I especially don't trust you w/my belongings. Too many of your colleagues have been found to have 'sticky fingers' since the TSA was started to trust you with anything (in my opinion). Trust implies that we, the traveling public, have had a say in your organization's development & nothing could be further from the truth. The TSA is something we endure-you have a very, very long way to go to gain our trust.

I've seen one of those machines in action in DFW-'slow' doesn't begin to describe it.

I have not seen Kippie's new lighting system nor your new costumes (uniforms) up close & personal, nor do I have any desire to-as the first response to your blog entry so aptly put it, 'lipstick on a pig'. Incredibly expensive lipstick at that. The money spent on the lipstick would have been much better spent on the COBRA's you discussed or getting the puffers back in service. The puffers, at least, will detect explosives something your current screening tools cannot do, be they solid or liquid, even if contained in a super-duper Kip Kuart zip top bag.

Anonymous said...

Paula - Thanks for your article. I look forward to seeing more of these Xrays as I travel.

I hear over and over again how rude the TSA is, but it is funny what I noticed while reading all the comments on this blog. A good percentage of the passengers posting here are far more rude than any screener I have ever encountered.

I'm guessing some of you had it coming.

Thanks Paula!

Anonymous said...

the machine may be slower but the line may get faster. it says it will require much less bag checks since it has more then one view. that means less waiting for someone to come and do the bag check. less re-runs.

Anonymous said...

I think I can answer this question.

No this is not really a better checkpoint!

Vacation planned for July.

Driving instead of flying, yes even at $4+ a gallon. 2500 miles round trip.

TSA stupidity, excessive airline fees and all the wasted time to get on an airplane make the driving option an easy choice.

I can take my bottle of water with me, wear my shoes, and not be stripped search at any time.

My computer, IPOD, and various cameras, batteries and cables can stay safely in their cases, not mis-handled by who knows how many uncaring people.

I will take my drivers license, since driving is a privilage, but traveling is a right and I will not be required to display such license unless stopped for a suspected violation of the law.

I will not be Spotted, have a 4 hour trained BDO trying to harrass me and no SSSS at the checkpoint.

I think TSA is successful, they are destroying air travel as a reasonable means of travel.

TSA should be proud!

Anonymous said...

When will the TSA just admit they don't have clue what they're doing? It has taken them more than 5 years, not to mention billions of dollars, to get to slower x-ray machines and uniforms? That's progress!

NoClu said...

Why are TSA agents referred to as Officers. They are not Police Officers, don't have arrest power, aren't trained as well as Police Officers, etc.

I'm glad the new machine is more effective, but have grave concerns about the role, appearance and overall effectiveness of TSA employees.

Anonymous said...

A better checkpoint would use puffers and trustworthy metal detectors so thousands of innocent people don't have to take off their shoes and obey useless liquid restrictions.

"Charity" said...

TSA personnel should show more courtesy to travelers coming thru their posts. A little courtesy,like a little honey, will go a long way. A smile and sympathy to tired, hassled travelers will mean a great deal more than new, expensive scanners.
"Charity"

Trollkiller said...

NoClu said...

Why are TSA agents referred to as Officers. They are not Police Officers, don't have arrest power, aren't trained as well as Police Officers, etc.


The TSA refers to the TSO as officers because most people are ignorant to the fact that the TSOs are NOT law enforcement. If they dress like cops and act like cops, reasonable people will believe they are cops.

Most people are taught from an early age that a cop is the ultimate authority outside a court room. If a cop tells you to do something, you better do it or risk being charged with a crime.

Because of the masses training to respect a cop's authority the TSA has decided to use that respect against the traveling public.

If you look at the "improvements" like the lights, music and signs that "prompt behavior" you will see that someone at the TSA got a half baked psychology degree and wants to play scientist. It is almost like the TSA wants to push as far as they can to see when we will break and say "No MORE!"

The next thing you know they hire a graphologist and make us submit handwriting samples.

Personally I think they should hire phrenologists, at least that way I can get a head massage.

On a positive note, Paula is a whole lot prettier than the guy they had modeling the uniform. She looks like one of the nice TSOs.

Trollkiller said...

Blogger Bob, I just read about the kidney stone. You poor man, I have been there. "Ow Ow Ow" tink "ahhhhhh"

Hopefully that was the only one you had to pass.

Anonymous said...

Are these new X-rays capable of seeing through fabric so we don´t have to take computers out of bags? If not, why bother? Please invest in making the lives of us innocent persons less miserable.

Anonymous said...

Instead of pointing out all that is wrong with the TSA, why not help with ideas that will make screening you better? We all know that when you go to the airport you will go through a checkpoint. The checkpoints are not going away. Instead you complain about long lines and taking off shoes. Yes there may be rules that may not be common sense. However, being part of the problem does not help reduce the wait at the checkpoint. Having your person ready to go when you get to the metal dector will.
If you can come up with a better way to keep bombs off airplanes and out of airports, let us know.
Because if, God frorbid, another plane goes down from a bomb no one will fly at all.

Anonymous said...

Some people will never learn. The WHOLE new Checkpoint is designed to make the traveling public more Safe, and is also designed to Speed-up the process by requiring less bag checks and re-runs. The Whole Body Imager is also designed to speed-up the process by requiring less hand wandings and pat downs. But that will not stop the complainers; they will always find something to complain about no matter what the TSA does. And also the COBRA machine in its current configuration take almost quadruple the time to process the same amount of bags, Paula stated "On the downside, it is not lightning fast. And I’m not as fast with it as I was with the old X-Ray machines. Not yet." Think for a moment and read what she said, she is not as fast with it, NOT YET. Have you ever used a new piece of technology after using a similar piece for years? It takes some time to get used to the new equipment and to use all of the new functions; I'm sure that in a short period of time the TSO's will become just as familiar and just as proficient with it.

And to the poster who stated that he will be driving on his summer vacation, have fun because it is travelers like you who ruin it for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Current events will help ease TSA Checkpoint pressures and possible even thin the ranks of TSO's.

People are cancelling travel or turning to other means of travel in mass; airlines are parking large numbers of aircraft due to fewer passengers.

Less flyer demand, less need for screeners standing around.

Ah, I like it when a plan comes together!

Anonymous said...

re: If you can come up with a better way to keep bombs off airplanes and out of airports, let us know.
...........................

How about looking for bombs instead of Photo ID's, bottles of various harmless liquids, peoples personal papers and such?

How about keeping screened baggage secured after it passes TSA hands?

How about screening airport workers, cargo and vehicles entering the airport operations areas?

Maybe TSA needs someone with experience in Security and not Rail Roads!

The TSA has caused their own problems with mission creep and ignoring the most likely source of introduction of contraband.

Anonymous said...

"Why are TSA agents referred to as Officers. They are not Police Officers, don't have arrest power, aren't trained as well as Police Officers, etc."

Precisely because most people won't see that difference and assume that TSA have actual authority beyond yelling. Most people don't know exact definition of a LEO. TSA is trying to grab power to continue to protext their existence.

Anonymous said...

And to the poster who stated that he will be driving on his summer vacation, have fun because it is travelers like you who ruin it for the rest of us.
...........................
I wonder how I have ruined it for the rest of you?

I choose driving over flying. No impact on TSA.

I'm driving so I need no TSA services. Releases TSA to screen other people.

I'm driving so the airlines have one less passenger to handle.

It seems to me that I am doing both the airlines and TSA a favor.

TSA has ruined air travel for me so I will travel by other means as has been suggested many times here by you fine TSA folks.

Ruined it for the rest of us! A bit of reach if you ask me.

HSVTSO Dean said...

NoClu said:

Why are TSA agents referred to as Officers. They are not Police Officers, don't have arrest power, aren't trained as well as Police Officers, etc.

In response, Trollkiller said:

The TSA refers to the TSO as officers because most people are ignorant to the fact that the TSOs are NOT law enforcement. If they dress like cops and act like cops, reasonable people will believe they are cops.

Ah, yes. There's the ol' man in the black hat standing on the railroad tracks with a TSA badge again, twisting his moustache...

Ahem.

Now, bear in mind, most of this is just shot from the hip:

Realistically, it's a semantics issue, and a technicality issue. Some years back, the administrator decided that, to make working for the TSA more appealing to people, we needed to have upward mobility. Nobody really wants to get a job and just stay in that position - and that pay - their whole life.

The original job series for the TSS (Transportation Security Screener) was, like, 1500 [I think that's what the series number was; like I said, I'm shooting this from the hip] or something of that nature. It offered no upward mobility, no capability for inter-agency transfers, or intra-agency transfers for that matter. The only thing a TSS could do would be to go to LTSS and STSS (Lead and Supervisor, respectively).

The powers that be changed the occupation series from 1500 to 1501, our job title officially changed from Transportation Security Screener to Transportation Security Officer (TSO), and we became eligible for transfers to such exciting roles as CBE and ICE and FAMs.

In short: it's a carrot on the end of a stick for the screeners themselves, in regard to career progression.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Correction:

I said:

The original job series for the TSS (Transportation Security Screener) was, like, 1500

and

The powers that be changed the occupation series from 1500 to 1501

I spent the ten seconds it took to look something up, and have now come back with this startling update:

The actual occupation series of the TSS is 1801. We were shifted to 1802, and became TSOs.

NoClu said...

Hmm. So the title is used to allow a career path, not to confuse or mislead the public into thinking they have more power or responsibility than they really have. Thanks for clearing that up.

I still have a sneeking suspicion that the whole image thing (visual and titles) is more to intimidate and encourage blind compliance than a career path.

See ya at the airport.

Anonymous said...

"If you can come up with a better way to keep bombs off airplanes and out of airports, let us know.
Because if, God frorbid, another plane goes down from a bomb no one will fly at all."

Since the cargo and checked baggage are not secure, anyone could put a bomb onto a plane. TSA has done nothing so far to change this situation. The cargo issue is being dumped in the lap of the shippers, and the luggage issue is blamed on the airlines. So, in the event that there is another bomb, it is likely that TSA will be doing what it does best- blaming someone else for the incident.

Cat said...

Why not take the money spent on uniforms, badges, music, and mood-lighting and put it towards the better COBRA machines?

Two reasons, of course.
1) Money. Are you unhappy that the administration has at least some people that are willing to try for fiscal responsibility? The amount of money involved in the different machines is quite hefty.
2) Practicality. The new AT systems are a little slower. But they are roughly the same size, cost less, and perform more seamlessly with the current set up. (Whether the current process is inherently flawed, or is the product of tin-foil hats, or should be scrapped is a different discussion.) In short, the AT does a better job and gives better options (and probably better speed, overall) than the current systems, with minimal impact. The Cobra, on the other hand, would require extensive physical changes to the checkpoint layout, tie up personnel for longer periods of time for bag checks (because of how the technology is used by the searcher) and is not as durable in a rough environment. It is also a great deal more expensive than an AT.

Now, when I say "physical changes", I mean to say the the Cobra system is larger. This may not be a problem at, say Orlando or BWI. However you have to consider that the system is only as good as it's weakest entry point, and there are over 430 airports. That's a minimum (if you only run one lane) of 430 new machines. With associated changes to the floorplan of the checkpoint. In some airports, structural issues with weight loading may require extensive construction to facilitate these changes. And in at least one airport checkpoint I've seen, it would be impossible to house the Cobra system without structural changes to the building itself.

As for the charges by some of "sticky fingered TSOs"... Any employer has a percentage of rotten apples. No matter what test or background check, you can't always stop people from being tempted. That said, TSA as a whole also gets tagged for ANY items missing in the checkpoint area, be they taken by TSOs, Airline employees, fellow passengers, etc. Statistically breaking down verifiable cases, though, should show that the percentage of proven thieves in the TSO workforce is far lower than that same statistic in, for example, the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

And *we* all are to blame for that one.

Anonymous said...

HSVTSO Dean said...
NoClu said:

Why are TSA agents referred to as Officers. They are not Police Officers, don't have arrest power, aren't trained as well as Police Officers, etc.

In response, Trollkiller said:

The TSA refers to the TSO as officers because most people are ignorant to the fact that the TSOs are NOT law enforcement. If they dress like cops and act like cops, reasonable people will believe they are cops.

Ah, yes. There's the ol' man in the black hat standing on the railroad tracks with a TSA badge again, twisting his moustache...

Ahem.

Now, bear in mind, most of this is just shot from the hip:

Realistically, it's a semantics issue, and a technicality issue. Some years back, the administrator decided that, to make working for the TSA more appealing to people, we needed to have upward mobility. Nobody really wants to get a job and just stay in that position - and that pay - their whole life.

The original job series for the TSS (Transportation Security Screener) was, like, 1500 [I think that's what the series number was; like I said, I'm shooting this from the hip] or something of that nature. It offered no upward mobility, no capability for inter-agency transfers, or intra-agency transfers for that matter. The only thing a TSS could do would be to go to LTSS and STSS (Lead and Supervisor, respectively).

The powers that be changed the occupation series from 1500 to 1501, our job title officially changed from Transportation Security Screener to Transportation Security Officer (TSO), and we became eligible for transfers to such exciting roles as CBE and ICE and FAMs.

In short: it's a carrot on the end of a stick for the screeners themselves, in regard to career progression.

HSVTSO Dean, you do know that the bosses could have done all the upward mobility employee self esteem stuff without calling all y'all "officer" and dressing you like faux cops.

Anonymous said...

NoClu said:

Why are TSA agents referred to as Officers. They are not Police Officers, don't have arrest power, aren't trained as well as Police Officers, etc.



Ok why shouldnt they be officers? Just because your an Officer doesnt mean your law enforcment. In some towns you can register has a PEACE OFFICER take a 5 hour course and they have the same arrest powers and Law Enforcement without carrying. TSA Officers go through far more training then those type of programs. That is like saying Borders and Customs Officers who dont carry are not federal officers. which they are. I think TSA agents deserve to be called Officers because guess what, thats whay they are they are FEDERAL SECURITY OFFICERS. there not saying they are Law Enforcement.

Trollkiller said...

HSVTSO Dean said...

Ah, yes. There's the ol' man in the black hat standing on the railroad tracks with a TSA badge again, twisting his mustache...


I think this picture is the perfect illustration of that.

Dunstan said...

"Trollkiller said...

HSVTSO Dean said...

Ah, yes. There's the ol' man in the black hat standing on the railroad tracks with a TSA badge again, twisting his mustache...

I think this picture is the perfect illustration of that."

I have to say, I'm wasn't in that picture.
Trollkiller, that trusty horse probably wasn't named winston, and he would buck you if he was.
As a great fan of Rocky and Bullwinkle, however, I think about the havoc some of the plot devices would wreak- hush-a-boom (the silent explosive) is just one that comes to mind. Too bad TSA doesn't have a sense of humor rather than a sense of insecure self-importance.

SQJTaipei said...

brb... I'm going over to my local bank to inquire why some of the employees there are called loan officers when in fact they are not officers at all. I suspect it is a plot to subvert the public who will overestimate the power of those officers... leading to all sorts of abuses. I'm sure it couldn't be just a simple job title... I'll go figure this out, though, and report back here with the sordid details.

Anonymous said...

"And so would any passenger that trusts us with their safety."

But NO passenger trusts you with their safety -- little that you do makes us safer, and much that you do actively makes us less safe.

Essay Writing Help said...

"Is this really a better checkpoint?" Its great these new facilities obviously help the passengers to feel more secure while they are entering the air port. And they Criminals will have to face many problems as well. Thank to share this amazing information with us here

HSVTSO Dean said...

That was exactly the image I had in mind when I wrote that, Trollkiller. :)

Trollkiller said...

SQJTaipei said...

brb... I'm going over to my local bank to inquire why some of the employees there are called loan officers when in fact they are not officers at all. I suspect it is a plot to subvert the public who will overestimate the power of those officers... leading to all sorts of abuses. I'm sure it couldn't be just a simple job title... I'll go figure this out, though, and report back here with the sordid details.


Oh sounds like fun, while you are there make sure to note if the bank officer is dressed like a cop and frisks you before you can enter. Let us know if the bank officer says "do you want to bank today?".

While you are at the bank ask at least 10 people if they think the bank officer is a law enforcement officer. You see that is the key to this whole set up.

The name "Transportation Security Officer" married with the uniform style, and with the real and faux authority wielded by so many TSOs leads the unsuspecting public into believing the TSO is a law enforcement officer.

The TSA has designed the TSO's title and uniform in a purposeful attempt to strengthen the public's perception that their screeners are law enforcement. The TSA has done this in order to coerce the public into blind obedience.

If the uniform and title does not succeed in coercing the public, the force of law that allows YOU to be arrested by a real law enforcement officer for merely questioning a TSO, surely will.

As you hopefully can see is the title is not JUST a title when it comes to impersonating a law enforcement officer.

Trollkiller said...

To Dunstan, the horse's name was Horse.

To HSVTSO Dean, I thought that would be the image. Here is an episode that was banned in the States because of its parody use of Smokey The Bear. No train tracks in site but good anyways. Enjoy!

To the Blog Mods, I double checked the video, it is clean.

Sandra said...

"feel more secure" - not increase security but to make the Kettles FEEL more secure. What a waste of money.

Anonymous said...

Well Paula, you can't please everybody right? I'm a TSO in the Northeastern region and let me tell you, we're still working off the old machines....I've heard much about these new machines and can't wait until they hit my airport. As for those who don't trust us with their safety, oh well. The bottom line is this, if your plane lands safely in its destination, I can go to bed with a clear conscience that night. I don't want to be responsible for a plane going down, so I'm doing MY job efficiently and courteously, but how about thinking about your watch or your money BEFORE blaming one of us for taking it because 10 times out of ten its in your pocket anyway! Paula, thank you for the insight to the new xray machines.

Anonymous said...

Ah! There's one of those wannabee cop badges. Don't they cause an alarm that has to be cleared each time? Can't they conceal something as dangerous as a nipple ring or even a blasting cap? Is the inside of the screener's shirt visually checked? Another TSA bad idea.

Trollkiller said...

Sandra said...

"feel more secure" - not increase security but to make the Kettles FEEL more secure. What a waste of money.


Ma says "hi"

For those that don't know who the Kettles are this clip will help.

txrus said...

Cat said on June 5, 2008 12:52 PM

As for the charges by some of "sticky fingered TSOs"... Any employer has a percentage of rotten apples. No matter what test or background check, you can't always stop people from being tempted.
***********************************

Here's the problem w/that theory, Cat-the TSA is not like 'any employer'. The TSA has, in words & actions (such as the new costumes) tried to portray itself as being equal to real military, intelligence, & law enforcement agencies but w/o any of the standards & values each live by & that's where it keeps falling on its face.

If a member of the above organizations was caught stealing from the public, smuggling drugs, or exhibiting the kind of bullying behavior screeners have become known for, how long do think that person would remain in the employ of one of those agencies? Not long. The TSA, on the other hand, continues to condone such behavior & only offers flimsy, whiny excuses for it ('It's a new organization'...'working the kinks out'....'bad apples in any company')

Then there are the performance issues, namely the agency-wide ongoing Red Team failures w/in the TSA. The TSA has proven, all by itself, how inempt it is to the traveling public over & over again, yet no one w/in the agency is ever, publicly, held accountable for it.

In a real law enforcement agency, even the appearance of inpropriety is grounds for dismissal. The TSA simply shrugs it's collective shoulders & offers more flimsy excuses, if they bother to acknowledge the complaint at all.

Those in the military, intelligence, & law enforcement have the public's respect because they are, internally & externally, held to a standard the TSA can't even begin to fathom. Until you start playing by ALL the rules those agencies do, don't expect to be considered anything less than dressed-up wanna be Keystone Kip Kops by the traveling public who don't 'trust you' w/anything.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Trollkiller wrote:

The TSA has designed the TSO's title and uniform in a purposeful attempt to strengthen the public's perception that their screeners are law enforcement. The TSA has done this in order to coerce the public into blind obedience.

If that were the case, obviously as a peon on the line I'd be one of the last people to know. Anything else short of hard evidence, though, is conjecture. I don't think so, and here's why:

As for the uniform itself -- I had a lot (A LOT) more to say about it, but as I was almost finished with the six paragraph or so long description of everything from conception to design to implementation, I was informed that it falls under SSI.

Oops.

So, since I can't give the whole spiel about how it wasn't designed as a way to purposefully decieve the flying public into blind obedience, I'm going to have to just stick with the conjecture part.

God, I'm awful helpful, ain't I? :)

txrus said...

More 'bad apples'?

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/5824112.html

Houston Chronicle article from 6/7/08 documenting how a DFW screener obtained a TX Legion of Honor license place he had no right to, which is a violation of the Stolen Valor Act, as it outlined in the article, which is a fed'l offense. If this person lied to obtain this license plate, what must he have put on his employment application w/the TSA?

http://www.courant.com/business/hc-watchdog0608.artjun08,0,2528441.story

Hartford (CT) Courant article from 6/8/08
TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis is quoted in the article as saying, '411 officers have been fired during the past five years for theft.'

#1. That number is signifantly higher than what has been reported by the TSA bloggers on this blog just recently.

#2. Given how difficult it has, historically, been for any action to be taken against a 'bad apple' screener, the obvious question to most people would be 'How many more either haven't been caught or were allowed to resign'?

Cat & Paula-you may be fine, upstanding screeners, but this is what you are being judged by & against. Do you see why we simply can't 'trust you'?

Anonymous said...

"There's one of those ...badges."

Is it covering up her name tag?

Is that a tag on her right pocket or just a pen?

Anonymous said...

hsvtso dean said, "The actual occupation series of the TSS is 1801. We were shifted to 1802, and became TSOs."

TSS were never 1801 series. 1801 series includes compliance, enforcement, and investigation series. Air Marshals (FAMS) and Inspectors (TSIs) are 1801 series and are commissioned to enforce laws and regulations, respectively. TSOs are now classified as 1802 series which is a lesser classification of the 1801 series and I believe it is called, "inspection and investigations assistant". The change in series does not grant any statutory authority. 1811 series is a law enforcement officer. Prior to the change, screeners were covered under the 0812 series (I think) in the government (administrative series) which did hurt the chances of transferring to another fed job, since the series number relates to experience.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"There's one of those ...badges."

Is it covering up her name tag?

Is that a tag on her right pocket or just a pen?


The name tag is on the right pocket flap and the angle of the photo is preventing you from viewing it.

HSVTSO Dean said...

TSS were never 1801 series

Hm. The first time I asked, the only person close at hand was the TSI. Makes sense on that grounds. This time, I asked someone who wasn't a TSI at any time. Yay for the training coordinator.

And he didn't know. But he did have the resources to go back in time (figuratively speaking, obviously) and look at the old documentation.

Ahem.

TSS is 0019, TSO is 1802.

And there we go. For what it's worth, we're also on the SV band instead of GS :P

Anonymous said...

I just noticed a comment about music in this blog post. MY GOD PLEASE GET RID OF THAT STUPID DEE-DEE-DEE-DA-DEE SONG THAT YOU PLAY CONSTANTLY! It's aggravating.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...
I just noticed a comment about music in this blog post. MY GOD PLEASE GET RID OF THAT STUPID DEE-DEE-DEE-DA-DEE SONG THAT YOU PLAY CONSTANTLY! It's aggravating.


It could be worse, they could be playing "It's a small world after all"

Mechanic said...

I hear they are trying new methods with the lines in airports and are having express lanes for those with small carry-ons, no children, and are familiar with the airport system. Hopefully this will help.

Beshops said...

Let us hope. It can save a lot of time. I found it a good idea

Khantchareck said...

well, the better security systems, the more clever terrorists...

Hot Stone Massage said...

I hope the turn around time improves.

JamesZachery said...

I am glad that I found this post.

The speed of the x-ray process dosen't really bother me.

I am just glad that improvements are happening that makes your work experience better. Anything that keeps you sharp and alert I am all for it.

I am sure as we move forward they will continue to improve.

Meanwhile, if we have to get to the airport sooner that's what we will do.

Jared E said...

While I agree with other commenters that the spending priorities of the TSA can seem amiss at times, I think that
the biggest problem the public protection agency has with using our tax dollars to keep us safe is the alarmingly swift absolescence of security technology products like x-ray scanners.

As for the aTix scanner discussed in this article being potentially more time consuming to operate, it seems like there is always a new scanner for detecting dangerous items and they always have their flaws.

Take the backscatter scanners that came out in 2010, for instance. They lead to a persistent wail from privacy advocacy groups and a study published in the Journal of Transportation Security by a couple of UC San Francisco professors concluded that they are easily duped. (Apparently a large pancake taped to the abdomen "would be invisible to this technology," and a dangerous amount of plastic explosives with tapered edges would be "difficult if not impossible to detect," according to the authors of this study.)

It's interesting to note that CASTA in Canada recently made a $19 million aTix purchase (Hi-Scan systems). It seems they are still replacing single-view systems, so at least we're not digging ourselves out of the obsolete technology hole they are!

DeLonghi EC702 said...

I know that this is an old post. I was wondering if these improvements to the bag checking system had managed to speed things up at all? I, like most I think, don't really think about any threats that there might be but how slow the line is actually moving.

On my most recent flight I was grateful to fly at an unpopular time and I zipped right through bag check. The actual time spent looking at my bag was minimal. And didn't bother me. I just need to think that you need to remind people that you are doing this for their own safety and not just because you get some sort of kick out of it.

Tina said...

Paula - Thanks for your article. I look forward to seeing more of these Xrays as I travel.

I hear over and over again how rude the TSA is, but it is funny what I noticed while reading all the comments on this blog. A good percentage of the passengers posting here are far more rude than any screener I have ever encountered.

I'm guessing some of you had it coming.

Thanks Paula!

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