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TSA Canine Handlers. Accepted or Not Accepted?

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K-9_training_school_009_max50

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Posted about 6 years ago

 

As a TSA Canine Handler, I have found it discerning that many LEO's see us as a lesser entity then they.  As if because we do not carry firearms at the present time and do not have arrest powers, at this time, the work we do is less important.  May I have some honest feedback from you all as the perception of TSA Canine Handlers and why we are perceived in that light?  Thank you and please be safe.


Ed

Dsc02083_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 6 years ago

 

Our K-9's are assigned to airport police officers here. It has been that way since the beginning.

Th_germanshepard_max50

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Rated +1 | Posted about 6 years ago

 

First off, TSA has, arguably, the most comprehensive and difficult certification procedures among the departments that use EDD's. Most of my association with TSA handlers have been Airport Police officers that have undergone the TSA training and certification. They are (ones I've met) all sworn officers. Even with that , among the police departments you still have those that, for one reason or another, seem to slight different aspects of law enforcement service. At  times you can see it between State and city/county. Certainly that "air" exists between some Federal agencies and state, city, county or other local law enforcement. Why it exists I don't know. I'm sure ego plays into it somehow. You know, the my job is more important - dangerous - wider jurisdiction sort of thinking. The same argument has always seemed to exist between gun totin' law enforcement and corrections officers as well. From my standpoint, it's what I feel about my job, now what I think others might think. I'll do my job to the best of my ability. If I'm not accepted for who I am and what I am, well, it's just not my problem. Take pride in what you do and the hell with those that seem to look down their nose at ya.


 


 


Beyond fatigue lies compensatory hypertrophy

K-9_training_school_009_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 6 years ago

 

Please excuse me all as I failed to clarify my position in this topic.  Regarding "TSA Canine Teams" I was reffering to the newly created TSA Agency Led Canine Teams.  That is, TSA direct employee personnel who serve in the dual capacity of an Explosive Detection Canine Handler and a Transportation Security Inspector for Cargo.  *Not to be mistaken for a Transportaion Security Officer (TSO), aka Screener. 

Ketty_002_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

I am an airport police K9 Officer that handles a TSA K9. We are not a big airport so we dont have any TSA handlers yet but I believe that you are just in the middle of a battle between TSA and ALEAN. As you are most likely aware, when TSA first rolled out the Cargo TSA handler program, most of the airport police K9 handlers were worried they would take over our jobs some day. This has since been delt with and put to bed. Hang in there

Dapd2_0_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

If properly trained, certified, etc. I see no problem.


"Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." - Eleanor Roosevelt

In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50

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Rated +1 | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

As two of my fellow officers have already stated, we have K-9 handlers for TSA who are police officers with our department, who have been given a TSA dog.  As are as I see it, security, federal LE, local, state or county LE, regardless, if you have a dog who is properly trained, and that dog is certifed by a recognised agency even if it is the parent agency, and you complete weekly/monthly training under either a department standard (set forth by TSA) or a recognised standard (NAPWDA, SWGDOG, APCA, etc)


YOUR GOOD TO GO, A HANDLER IS A HANDLER, REGARDLESS OF YOUR AUTHORITY/LE ABILITY

Oops__max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

 I have trained with TSA bomb dogs. I have to say they are some of the best trained explosive detection dogs i have seen. I like to go train with the TSA dogs because its such good training.

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Rate This | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

I have a TSA trained K9 and work at the airport.  We train with the local dept's as often as we can.  There is alot of experience that is passed on.  No one in this group thinks that their K9 is better than the other one, or that their training is better, because we know that each day presents a different challenge.  


We are also to small of an airport to have the cargo teams. 

K-9_training_school_009_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

I would like to thank all of you that have taken the time to respond to this post.  It brings me and my fellow TSA Handlers a great lift of encouragment to know that there are some LEO's out there who can simply acknowledge us as handlers and recognize that we too bring something to the table.  Our missions, regardless of the uniform we wear, or who signs our check, is the same.  So, on behalf of TSA Proprietary Canine Teams I would like to say, THANK YOU.  And be safe.

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Rate This | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

I have been reading the following messages and I am very interested in the way LEO's have started recongnizing TSA canine handlers for who the are. Our airport is just been told they will be getting 3 positions. I am very much pleased that we are getting the positions. I am going to apply when they become available. I have been working for TSA since 2002 as a supervisor and can't wait till the jobs are posted. I have always loved animals and will jump at the chance to get paid for something I love doing.

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Rate This | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

This is slightly off topic but I want to let all TSA employees know I support what you do.  I know you get a lot of crap for who you are and what you do.  My husband is a BDO.  My thanks to you for what you do every day.

K9_bo_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

ED, TSA K9 are great as I used to be one, but it seems there main purpose is protection of airport etc and not that of law enforcement. K9 program is supreme and they in a class all by themselves

K-9_training_school_009_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

To all my fellow TSA Canine Handlers, Proprietary and Legacy alike, I would like to invite you to a Group Forum I created just for TSA and TSA affiliated Handlers. As the group begins to grow I will survey the group to see if we would be willing to include non-TSA affiliated personnel into the group as different perspectives may provide useful and insightful contributions.  I look forward to seeing you there.

1979_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

Ed, you said it yourself, there is a vast difference between K-9 handlers and the TSA screeners who are unfortunately 80%+ are a joke. Are you a LEO? No, but you are not a hack either and are professional so you are afforded as much respect as a non-LEO gets.

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Rate This | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

Santos, my husband is a TSA-BDO.  I have never recommended that he check out PL because of the bashing that TSA receives here.  I'm sure a TSA forum on some internet location would be helpful so that TSA employees could discuss current issues with their peers across the US, but I would never subject my husband to the verbal beating he would receive on PL.

K-9_training_school_009_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

 


Robocop, thanks for the honest feedback.  You know it’s unfortunate that TSA Screeners (Officers) have a reputation of being "a joke".  I can certainly understand the feeling and everyone is entitled their opinion; however, if there is one thing I have learned in my years of service, there are always a few bad apples that cast a daunting shadow over the majority of those that mean well and are trying to do a good job.  In this country, particularly when we have a major international incident, many people cherish and adore our Armed Forces.  Having given 10 years of my family's lives to the Air Force; I can honestly say that there were enough bad apples in each of the branches to cast a large enough shadow over more than just the Department of Defense.  Nonetheless, the citizens of this country look past that because of the large scale influence of the Armed Forces. Influences such as the great number of people who have a member in their family or knows someone who has served, is currently serving or is about to serve.  The same large scale influence cannot be said of TSA.  Yes, TSA is a rather large agency, comparatively speaking, however she is grossly misunderstood, both internally and externally. 
 
Would I agree that there have been more than a few instances of (lack of a better word) discrepancies, many of which have been borderline embarrassing?  Yes, of course.  But, what most people do not realize is that since TSA's conception the agency has been scrutinized immensely and is constantly under a microscope, more so than any other agency in the government.  Looking through the microscope is Congress and the ever popular media; looking for any little thread to pull and expose inner core of TSA. 
 
There are those in the public that pass through screening at airports across the country and complain that the procedures practiced at one airport differ from that of another.  Most would call that level of inconsistency a failure in SOP.  Others may call that, unpredictability for the bad guys. 
 
As Law Enforcement personnel (myself being previous Military Police), charged with protection and enforcement, we can appreciate the element unpredictability in what we do in order to gain and maintain the upper hand in any situation.  Yes, TSA has a long road ahead of her in order to gain the respect and appreciation of the American people, but I ask this of you and every other American citizen, please understand the scrutiny in which TSA employees, not just screening but all her personnel, must endure.  Should you ever find yourself in a position to really talk to a TSA employee face to face and have the time to really talk to them, please do so and ask them questions about their job.  Who knows, they just might surprise you.
 
These are just one man's thoughts and opinions on this topic.  I would like to thank you, all that have read this, for taking the time to read this post and I look forward to any feedback you may have.  My only request, based on what was posted by tjlato on 14Jan09 in this forum, that all comments remain respectable in nature as respect is all that you will receive from me.  Based on the posts I have read in this forum thus far, I am honored to be in the company of such great people.  Thank you and please BE SAFE.
 
Ed

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Rate This | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

Ed, that was well said. 

30_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 6 years ago

 

Ed, don't be too upset... I know exactly how you feel.  With me being a Military K-9 officer... I have gotten the same reations as you have. Until, that is, my dogs show up all the rest of the teams present at the training.  When they see how we train and the amounts that we train with... That's when everyone's attitde toward us changes.

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Rated +1 | Posted over 4 years ago

 

Ed,


Thanks for creating this post for questions to asked and answered. I am in the process of applying for a TSA EDD position to be closer to my family. There is not much job description listed on TSA's website. Can you give me more info or point in the right direction to find some. I have three EDD related questions and hope you can answer them for me. First, comraderie, how is it between EDD teams based at one station? I read that there is usually three to four handlers/dogs at one airport. Second, EDD is not a LE position right now, do you see it going in that direction in the near future or has upper management discussed making it an LE position because of the dangers of the job? Third and final, are EDD handlers issued a GOV to transport dogs back and forth to work and to other locations? What is the type of vehicle and do you have emergency response capability? I know that was more like five questions, but thank you for your time and service to protecting America.


SSgt Brown


USAF/SFS

K-9_training_school_009_max50

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Rate This | Posted over 4 years ago

 

SSgt Brown,


Sorry for the delayed response to your inquiry.  I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability.


Camaraderie between teams is a very sensitive subject.  As you may or may not know the TSA canine program is only new to TSA employees.  The program has been in existence since before TSA existed; previously under the control of the FAA.  Up until 2008 the NEDCTP had been training and issuing canines exclusively to civilian law enforcement departments with responsibility over transportation networks.  It was after to creation of the 9/11 Commission Report and pressure from Congress that TSA created what is known today as TSA Proprietary Canine Teams, with primary responsibility in the screening of air cargo bound for travel onboard passenger aircrafts.  With this rapid deployment of new federal canine teams, concern of a federal takeover of the program as a whole was widespread, generating immediate animosity between, what is known as Legacy Teams, and Proprietary Teams.  The need for this concern does not exist at this time as that is not the intent of the agency.  Therefore, especially at major airports, you will find both Legacy and Proprietary teams working parallel of one another in varying functions.  Unfortunately the working relationship between Legacy and Proprietary at these locations varies.  At some ports there is little to no working relationship whereas few locations get along great.  Internally, for the most part, TSA teams get along very well with one another as, much like the world of K9 overall, we are a minority amongst the rest of our agency.


The number of teams at an airport is determined by the annual number of passenger enplanements and cargo volume.


At the present time TSA Proprietary teams are not criminal law enforcement personnel.  We are in fact civil law enforcement with compliance enforcement duties and responsibilities.  Discussions have taken place regarding the conversion of Proprietary teams to sworn LEO's however that notion has gone no further than brief conversation.  I do not foresee this program moving into that direction any time soon if at all.  Although in my opinion we should already be there for many reasons.


Upon graduating from the academy, we are issued a take home vehicle fully equipped with a kennel insert which we drive home with from the academy. Currently we have Ford F-150's (See my profile).  The vehicle is equipped with concealed lights and sirens however we are not authorized to use them as we are not considered first responders.  Yet another contradiction from the apparent expectations of the agency. 


I hope I was able to help.  Should you have any further questions or would like me elaborate more on the above mentioned, please email me and I will be happy to assist.  dhs.gov">edwin.santos@dhs.gov

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Rate This | Posted over 4 years ago

 

The TSA K-9 program is excellent, but Iknow in my area there are some issues with OSO dogs being used outside their scope which would be cargo. Many LEOs myself included feel that if a K-9 is going to be used in a public area, outside the SIDA area of an airport, they need to be a sworn LEO. It's not enough just to have a LEO on site as they may or may not clearly understand the role of the EDD's.


I am not saying that a OSO handler is less trained or not good handlers but that TSA needs to make some hard decisions and either make the OSO handlers LEOs or keep them within the secure area of the airport. Or better yet we can all wait for a lawsuit!!!

K-9_training_school_009_max50

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Rate This | Posted over 4 years ago

 

marty77,


Thanks for taking the time to reply to this post.  I agree with you completely regarding the need for OSO teams to be sworn LEO's in order to work the public side of the airport.  However, the public side of the airport is the least of my concerns.  OSO teams are globally deployable and often these deployments are short notice and may at times have nothing to do with transportation at all.  It is during these operations I am most concerned as we are placed into situations in which we are not properly prepared for.  I will not dive into the specifics of these matters however I will say that although I support my agency, I do not always agree with its tactics, and not until a handler, a dog or both are fatally injured on the job, TSA will not make a move in the right direction.

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Rated +1 | Posted over 4 years ago

 

 


I read through all these post and have a little insight. I have been a k9 handler for 11 years. I am also a sworn police officer with the PWC. I would submit this. The ego is a huge part of law enforcement and even more so in K9. To be in either pretty much requires a Type A personality. So naturally, we have a “My ___ is bigger than yours” mentality. Does that excuse unprofessional or poor social skills? No.
With TSA handlers and sworn handlers, the mission is completely different. While the most common factor is detection, that is pretty much where the similarity stops. LEO teams do aggression, suspect searches, scouts, tracking and so on. So when LEO handlers don’t consider TSA handlers the same or equal; It is because they are not the same. Now that shouldn’t bother anyone. Unless of course you are letting your ego get involved. If you want bragging rights, compete at the USPCA trials.
In my opinion, TSA handlers should be sworn. Logistically, it may be a nightmare to get the training going and to circulate everyone through. But at a minimum, they should have the same power and authority as an Air Marshal. I don’t claim to be a TSA expert but I would imagine they deploy all over the country. That  means they are on the airplane anyway, right? Why not have an extra pair of eyes doing the Air Marshal mission as well.
Bottom line, take pride in what you do. If you want to chase noise complaints down and to write shoplifting reports all day, by all means, apply to a police department near you. I have been doing this for a while and can tell you that it is not all you think it is. I write more reports on my time off and spend countless hours of my off time getting case management done and preparing for court. Oh, and court is on your days off. Not to mention that you put in all that hard work for some lawyer to work out a deal where the suspect smiles and walks out of the courtroom.  If you are looking for a job that lets you carry a badge in your pocket and a gun under your shirt, then you may be in it for the wrong reasons.
I for one am pretty envious of the TSA handlers. I miss working with dogs 24/7. That and you guys can make some mad cash. I just saw a canine position for TSA advertising top salary of $130,000… WOW! Again, take pride. We are all in it for the safety of the public. There is no shame in that.

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Rate This | Posted about 4 years ago

 

 I feel that anyone who is in the public safety department needs the utmost respect and decency from their peers and other LEO's. It's unfortunate that you are treated this way. Stay safe and good luck! 


Nathan


(policeone.webs.com) 

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Rate This | Posted almost 4 years ago

 


I am a E-4 in the Air Force as well a K-9 handler and been deployed to Iraq with my dog. I am getting out soon and I was thinking about working for TSA as a K-9 handler. Can anyone please give me any information about how I can apply for that job. Thank you


K-9_training_school_009_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 4 years ago

 

red_1031 says ...





 

I am a E-4 in the Air Force as well a K-9 handler and been deployed to Iraq with my dog. I am getting out soon and I was thinking about working for TSA as a K-9 handler. Can anyone please give me any information about how I can apply for that job. Thank you



red, please look up my new Group, "Becoming a TSA Canine Handler".  You can post your questions there and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Me_and_partner_rex_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 4 years ago

 

Maybe if the TSA hired more people with LE backgrounds they would get more respect.

K-9_training_school_009_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 4 years ago

 

BCSD4558 says ...



Maybe if the TSA hired more people with LE backgrounds they would get more respect.


 


That's the strange part. Many of us come from a LE brackground (by us I am referring to Inspectors and Handlers).


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Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Good Evening...just wanted to ask a question that someone out there could answer for me.  Is it possible to take a certification course within the U.S. in explosive bomb dog detection and be hired at TSA, or private corporation without having a law enforcement background?  I do have 3 tours of duty in Iraq/Afghanistan and over 20 years of experience.  I can't go the police academy route due to my age.  Thanks for any answers that could be provided.

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