Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why We Screen Wheelchairs Part II

Our officers work in what some have referred to as a large fishbowl. Everything they do is being observed by passengers. So, when they screen veterans & active military, children & seniors, and people in wheelchairs, people notice. It doesn’t sit well with them and we often hear about it. All wheelchairs must be screened and it's important to remember that some people, including terrorists are looking to sneak things through, by pretending to have a disability.

Lynn wrote the last “Why We Screen Wheelchairs” as a result of a passenger trying to smuggle two packages of cocaine onto a plane. Wherever you can hide drugs, you can hide bombs and other items, so we thought it was a good example to help explain why we screen people in wheelchairs.

In this most recent case, a gentleman came through the checkpoint at Milwaukee’s MKE airport in his wheelchair and whoops -what’s that??? Underneath the cushion of his wheelchair was not one, but two firearms. Our officers found the following:

- One 9mm loaded with 15 rounds and one chambered

- One 32 caliber loaded with seven rounds and one chambered

It turns out that the gentleman didn’t have any nefarious intentions(He forgot the guns were there) but it is yet again another example of why we screen wheelchairs and the people in them.

To help us better understand how to screen persons with disabilities (PWDs), TSA established a coalition of over 70 disability-related groups and organizations with disabilities and medical conditions. These groups have assisted TSA with writing our policies to help us thoroughly screen PWDs while ensuring they are treated with dignity and respect. Our officers are regularly trained on screening people with disabilities.

You can go to TSA.gov to read more about traveling when you have a disability.

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TSA Blog Team