Pilot ID vs Law Enforcement Officer ID

enigma

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In reference to American Airlines denying boarding to the suspicious Secret Service agent:

I have to ask the obvious (to me) question. Why should the goverment issue ID that is carried by LEO's be given any more credibility than my govermental issued ID?

Or to be more argumentative, Why should a Captain be forced to recognize the SS ID, when law enforcement will not accept my license and ID when I clear security? My ID (airline ID badge, and FAA license) are considered less than worthless by the LEO's at the security checkpoints. Yes,,my airline ID is a governmental document, as it is required under some Federal reg; if it wasn't, the FAA couldn't have made the airlines revalidate all pilot ID's after Sept 11.

BTW, kudos to the AA Captain. He followed procedure and made an informed, considered decision. He used good CRM and involved others in the decision. I hope that getting the SOC involved will save him when the Feds/politicos/lawyers come after him in the inevitable civil persecution.

regards 8N

PS hopefully, ALPA - APA - SWAPA, can use this issue and turn the tables on them. This would be an excellent issue to turn into one that we could use to help get our own ID recognized.
 

njcapt

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This is an issue that the national jump seat group has been discussing since the post - 9/11 restrictions became effective.

Do any of our pilots know what legitimate SS ID looks like? Marshall's Service? ATF? Perry County, PA parole office (used to get them chasing fugitive trailer burglars when I flew for ALG)? Of course not. When one of the ALPA national JS Chairmen asked the SS what their ID's looked like he was told that it was privledged information and he didn't have a need to know that.

I have advised out pilots to be EXTREMELY cautious when dealing with supposed legitimate jump seaters from any federal law enforcement agency, including the FAA. Any feds they don't recogize personally should have their bona fides questioned by the airline's system control their names and agency listed on the flight release.

The days of letting fish and game officers on board with their firearms are over as well. Unless I am comfortable with their need to carry their pieces on board, they check them. Period.

Am I being pizzy about LEO's carte blanche authority to transit security with their weapons? Probably. But if the government wants to enhance security, they are going to have to look at everyone with access, not just the travelling public and flight crews.
 

enigma

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njcapt said:
[Am I being pizzy about LEO's carte blanche authority to transit security with their weapons? Probably. But if the government wants to enhance security, they are going to have to look at everyone with access, not just the travelling public and flight crews. [/B]
No you're not being pizzy. Good post

Thanks,

8N
 

avbug

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With respect to the identification issue;

One fundamental difference is the clearance of each individual. The clearance, and the checks performed to grant that clearance, for pilots are pathetic compared to what any federal law enforcement officer has experienced. The presentation of the identification itself represents a market difference between levels of verification.

LEO identification is not, and never has been, carte blanche authority to board, or to carry. Under no circumstances. We see this in the latest well publicised event.

A lot of folks here speak about their identification as a pilot, and the SIDA access it should grant as though they've received a secret clearance. They haven't. They've received a very simple, very general "background check," which doesn't amount to a hill of beans with respect to a real background check. Is there some wonder as to why, when considering security issues, a typical LEO credential will have creater weight than a pilot ID?

There shouldn't be.

Considering that the background check proceedures for many LEO's can take up to a year prior to hiring, and may continue for a year after hiring...there is a big difference between the scrutiny that is represented by law enforcement credentials, and those represented by a typical pilot ID. People are getting excited right now about a simple background check of criminal history, NCIC, and fingerprint crossmatching. That's at the very basic standard level for any law enforcement officer (I used to do the checks my self), and not worth a second thought. It's no invasion of privacy, either; it's so basic it shouldn't be surprising in the least. The mere fact that folks are upset or surprised by this is evidence that the present background check system is pathetically oversimplified.

Until that changes, don't be surprised that those with greater levels of clearance and who have been authenticated to a greater degree, may be granted easier access at secure areas than those who have not. It may be hard to swallow, but thems the facts.
 

skydiverdriver

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Enigma,
I'm sure you are correct that a LEO goes through a much more thorough backround check than most pilots do. However, pilots go through the backround/security check that is required by federal law. If we need to be checked more thoroughly, then they need to change the law.

I agree that our ID's should make us recognizable as bonafide flight crewmembers, and allow us to go through security without the strip search. I have nothing against a further reaching backround check, but that has nothing to do with them treating us like criminals at the checkpoints.
 

Seymour

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RTFQ

Very good information AVBUG, except that I think you missed enigmas point. I thought he was talking about the ID itself, not the process that an officer goes through to get the ID. I have thought of the same question. Why is the officers ID any better than a pilots? Is an officers ID in some way impossible to fake? Is it any harder to pose as an officer than it is to pose as a pilot? I have seen lots of news stories about someonegetting caught attempting to impersonate a cop, but I've never seen a story about someone impersonating a pilot. I agree that a properly identified officer has been more thorougly checked than a properly id'd pilot, but it seems possible that a terrorist could impersonate an officer more easily than he could a pilot. Now, I've got even more to worry about:)

Seymour

avbug said:
With respect to the identification issue;

One fundamental difference is the clearance of each individual. The clearance, and the checks performed to grant that clearance, for pilots are pathetic compared to what any federal law enforcement officer has experienced. The presentation of the identification itself represents a market difference between levels of verification.

LEO identification is not, and never has been, carte blanche authority to board, or to carry. Under no circumstances. We see this in the latest well publicised event.

A lot of folks here speak about their identification as a pilot, and the SIDA access it should grant as though they've received a secret clearance. They haven't. They've received a very simple, very general "background check," which doesn't amount to a hill of beans with respect to a real background check. Is there some wonder as to why, when considering security issues, a typical LEO credential will have creater weight than a pilot ID?

There shouldn't be.

Considering that the background check proceedures for many LEO's can take up to a year prior to hiring, and may continue for a year after hiring...there is a big difference between the scrutiny that is represented by law enforcement credentials, and those represented by a typical pilot ID. People are getting excited right now about a simple background check of criminal history, NCIC, and fingerprint crossmatching. That's at the very basic standard level for any law enforcement officer (I used to do the checks my self), and not worth a second thought. It's no invasion of privacy, either; it's so basic it shouldn't be surprising in the least. The mere fact that folks are upset or surprised by this is evidence that the present background check system is pathetically oversimplified.

Until that changes, don't be surprised that those with greater levels of clearance and who have been authenticated to a greater degree, may be granted easier access at secure areas than those who have not. It may be hard to swallow, but thems the facts.
 

avbug

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Idenfiication needs to be verified either way, and authentication must be made for each individual. However, I don't think that's entirely the issue, either.

I hear a lot of talk complaining that pilots are screened before boarding the aircraft, or entering the SIDA, yet a lot of talk stating that we must be careful allowing law enforcement officers into the SIDA. I submit that if a perimeter is to encase a sterile area, then everyone is subject to the same limitations.

It's a plain fact that the LEO entering the SIDA has undergone more substantial authentication than the pilot. The checks required and performed are more extensive, and are performed with much more frequency. However, no matter what form of identification, no matter what the job or station, every person entering and leaving the SIDA must be checked.

A pilot, or someone appearing to be a pilot, can just as easily carry something past the checkpoint as could a LEO. We can easily imagine a scenario where an LEO is approached with an offer for one hundred thousand dollars, to board the aircraft and leave the weapon there. Someone, blackmailed, or family under threat, might capitulate. We can easily imagine the same situation with a pilot. It's possible.

Now imagine the same situation with an imposter. No external motivation. Expecially in situations of large companies, where pilots flying together often don't know one another, an imposter has a greater liklihood of successfully entering the aircraft without detection. In such a case, a thorough screening prior to penetrating the SIDA is essential, no matter how many stripes or how crushed his cap may appear. No matter how gilded the ID. Everyone who enters the SIDA must be subject to the same protocol.

Imagine a biological laboratory. Everyone entering and everyone exiting must pass through an airlock, must be decontaminated, must follow exactly the same proceedures. External contaminants aren't carried in, or out. It doesn't matter that a worker is the president or CEO, or a doctor, or a lab tech. Everyone is the same, must go through the same screening, in order to preserve the integrity inside the chamber. The SIDA isn't much different; everyone should be fully checked, and have full authentication, prior to entry.

It goes without saying that the current system is inadequate. Biometric scans to back up the card, DNA checks, and optical scans are all available to more thoroughly document and authenticate a person, and it can all be co-coded on identification cards. Even these can be fooled, however, and each person bearing such identification needs to be checked before entry. It matters little if we're talking about a salesman, a law enforcement officer or a pilot.

In the case of individuals carrying firearms aboard, direct authentication with the issuing agency should ALWAYS be made.
 
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