Transportation security officers nationwide are shaking their heads after hearing about a fellow officer’s sticky fingers in Newark. It’s a kick in the gut for each of the 43,000 officers who are honest, hardworking, and take pride in their mission of keeping passengers safe. We are well aware of how folks forget about the important role TSA's officers have in security and remember events such as this one.
As a former officer myself, I just want to be clear that the actions of this individual are absolutely unacceptable and his actions in no way represent the overwhelming majority of hard working officers in airports around the country.
Federal investigators have charged the officer with theft and he is scheduled to appear in federal court today. TSA's Office of Inspection worked closely with DHS investigators to bring charges against the officer and execute a search warrant for the officer’s home. He faces 10 years in prison if convicted. The officer will eventually be terminated. Zero tolerance!
As we have mentioned before, when airports receive claims reports for stolen items, TSA's local management monitors them to look for trends and anomalies. If they see anything repetitive or suspicious, they can call in TSA's Office of Inspection to conduct an investigation. The Office of Inspection then works with federal and local law enforcement to resolve the case.
TSA has zero tolerance for theft and has gone as far as to terminate an officer for stealing pocket change totaling less than a dollar. Since May 1, 2003, less than 500* officers have been terminated for theft, which represents less than 1/2 of one percent of all officers. Unfortunately, this tiny fraction of officers causes damage that is hard to repair.
* Edited to change number from less than 300 to less than 500.
EoS Blog Team