Racial Profiling at BOS

Old Aug 30, 12, 10:11 am
  #61  
 
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Originally Posted by gsoltso View Post
I can understand that point of view, and it has merit, but currently the regulations given to TSOs contradict that by indicating we are to report the other illegal items we find incidental to the original search item.

I can't contradict what is said here either. We are simply told we are to report them to local authorities to deal with.

The distinction in your position is that we are instructed to do this as part of our training. I understand the point that many of the folks here make that it is not a part of WEI it shouldn't be reported, but at this time, the SOP says we are to report it.
So your training curriculum includes stuff like, how to: look out for cash > $10,000, spot drugs etc..
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Old Aug 30, 12, 1:16 pm
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Originally Posted by gsoltso View Post
I can understand that point of view, and it has merit, but currently the regulations given to TSOs contradict that by indicating we are to report the other illegal items we find incidental to the original search item.



I can't contradict what is said here either. We are simply told we are to report them to local authorities to deal with.



Again, understand and see the merit in your statements. This is a policy question that none of the front line employees (like me) are going to be able to change.



The distinction in your position is that we are instructed to do this as part of our training. I understand the point that many of the folks here make that it is not a part of WEI it shouldn't be reported, but at this time, the SOP says we are to report it.
Originally Posted by bamin View Post
So your training curriculum includes stuff like, how to: look out for cash > $10,000, spot drugs etc..
To put it more plainly, how does a TSO know what is or is not an "illegal item?"

TSOs are not cops. They have no police powers, but they also have no specialized training in the interpretation or enforcement of the law. The vast majority of them have no degrees in law, criminology, or forensics, and they don't attend 3-6 month academies teaching them these things like police do.

In essence, a TSO's understanding of what is or is not an "illegal item" is no greater than the average person's, yet they're instructed to initiate a law enforcement investigation based on their flawed hunches and incomplete understanding of the law.

Weapons.

Explosives.

Incendiaries.

NOTHING else is their business. NOTHING else should be their focus.
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Old Aug 30, 12, 3:03 pm
  #63  
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Originally Posted by WillCAD View Post
NOTHING else is their business. NOTHING else should be their focus.
But without the regular "good catch!" of various drugs, everything from someone with 10 kilos of high-grade cocaine to the poor schlub with a doobie tucked into his waistband, how are the sheep going to see that the TSA is "protecting" them?
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Old Aug 30, 12, 3:12 pm
  #64  
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Originally Posted by jkhuggins View Post
I think the real problem here is that TSA employees, as public employees, are obligated to report when they suspect a crime is being committed --- even if that crime is unrelated to their duties. This isn't without precedent in other sectors of public life. For example, my pastor told me about a member of his former congregation who, as a firefighter, couldn't attend any service where open candles were being lit, because in that jurisdiction, open candles technically violated the fire code. And, in general, having public servants turning a blind eye to crimes being committed presents its own problems.

On the whole, I agree that administrative searches tend to look like warrantless searches for contraband --- or, at least, have the same effect. I'm just not sure how you navigate between those two alternatives, neither of which is ideal.
It's interesting -- I've been in public service for most of my professional life dating back to 1976. I have never once been told that I'm obligated to report crimes or evidence of a crime with one exception: espionage.
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Old Aug 30, 12, 4:36 pm
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Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
It's interesting -- I've been in public service for most of my professional life dating back to 1976. I have never once been told that I'm obligated to report crimes or evidence of a crime with one exception: espionage.
It's not uncommon in other public-sector positions. A good friend of mine is a public school teacher. They're required by law to report suspected child abuse, with serious criminal consequences if they fail to do so. This mandatory reporting requirement applies 24/7; if they suspect abuse happening in their apartment complex, or at church, or in public, they have to report it there, too.

So ... does being a TSO rise to that level? Clearly, the SOP says it does. Should it? Opinions will obviously vary.
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Old Aug 30, 12, 4:52 pm
  #66  
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Originally Posted by jkhuggins View Post
Clearly, the SOP says it does.
The "real" SOP, or the one in writing that nobody (apparently, including TSA employees) is allowed to view?
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Old Aug 30, 12, 7:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Caradoc View Post
The "real" SOP, or the one in writing that nobody (apparently, including TSA employees) is allowed to view?
I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

Seriously ... of course, all we have to go on is what we've told by TSOs and TSA spokespeople. As to how much of that is accurate ... well, any answer to that question probably reveals more about the person answering than the TSA.
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Old Aug 30, 12, 7:37 pm
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Originally Posted by bamin View Post
So your training curriculum includes stuff like, how to: look out for cash > $10,000, spot drugs etc..
Heck how about $4700 in cash/checks made out to Ron Paul (R-Texas)? Or photography at the checkpoint?

What exactly is taught during recurrent training but somehow comes up again & again & again? Were those screeners on coffee break during the recurrent training?
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Old Aug 31, 12, 5:19 am
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Originally Posted by cottonmather0 View Post
This is where my problem lies and where I think there is a conflict with existing 4th Amendment jurisprudence. The carve-out for "administrative" searches has nothing to do with finding "something illegal". Period. That carve-out was written 40 years ago (with a couple of tweaks over the years) based on metal detectors and bag x-rays looking for explosives and weapons.
Originally Posted by gsoltso View Post
I can understand that point of view, and it has merit, but currently the regulations given to TSOs contradict that by indicating we are to report the other illegal items we find incidental to the original search item.

I can't contradict what is said here either. We are simply told we are to report them to local authorities to deal with.

Again, understand and see the merit in your statements. This is a policy question that none of the front line employees (like me) are going to be able to change.

The distinction in your position is that we are instructed to do this as part of our training. I understand the point that many of the folks here make that it is not a part of WEI it shouldn't be reported, but at this time, the SOP says we are to report it.
And there's the problem. Your management believes, and teaches you, that their regulations, policy, SOP, instructions, training override the 4th Amendment.
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Old Aug 31, 12, 5:58 am
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Originally Posted by RadioGirl View Post
And there's the problem. Your management believes, and teaches you, that their regulations, policy, SOP, instructions, training override the 4th Amendment.
The problem with that is the consent search and administrative angle on the consititutionality -which will most likely wind up being settled in a Supreme Court ruling in the future if those policies do not change. There are many arguments (many of them have been presented here) that the consent given at a checkpoint is not an informed consent due to the nature of the regulations and SSI and such - I can see that argument and understand the point made by it. Currently, policy disagrees with that argument, and until there is a change in policy making, or a court ruling that forces a change in either the disclosure of the rules, or a change in policy, we are sadly at an impasse. Both sides of the debate have large audiences and supporters, and both are equally convinced they are in the right, so this will most likely play out in court.
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Old Aug 31, 12, 6:24 am
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Originally Posted by gsoltso View Post
. . . There are many arguments (many of them have been presented here) that the consent given at a checkpoint is not an informed consent due to the nature of the regulations and SSI . . .
I would argue that no consent is given at the checkpoint at all. Instead, the government compells me to undergo a search before it allows me to exercise my constitutional right to travel freely throughout the nation. I do not consent to the search in any meaning of the word; at best I comply. To use the word "consent" in this context is not much better than saying I consent to handing over my wallet to a robber in order to avoid having him hit me over the head.
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Old Aug 31, 12, 7:04 am
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Originally Posted by gsoltso View Post
I
The distinction in your position is that we are instructed to do this as part of our training. I understand the point that many of the folks here make that it is not a part of WEI it shouldn't be reported, but at this time, the SOP says we are to report it.
Originally Posted by bamin View Post
So your training curriculum includes stuff like, how to: look out for cash > $10,000, spot drugs etc..
It seems more serious than even that. The story out of BOS suggests that the BDOs were expected to meet some minimum quota of criminal referrals. There's no practical way to meet that quota by referring terrorists or people with ill intent toward a commercial aircraft; after all in over a decade TSA has never intercepted *one* of these people, and the number who exist is so infinitesimally small it might as well be zero.

So the report out of BOS suggests that BDOs were sent out to specifically seek threats not related to aviation security. That's a whole lot worse than being told to report stuff seen as part of a search, or even training TSOs on identifying "contraband."
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Old Aug 31, 12, 7:14 am
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Originally Posted by jkhuggins View Post
It's not uncommon in other public-sector positions. A good friend of mine is a public school teacher. They're required by law to report suspected child abuse, with serious criminal consequences if they fail to do so. This mandatory reporting requirement applies 24/7; if they suspect abuse happening in their apartment complex, or at church, or in public, they have to report it there, too.

So ... does being a TSO rise to that level? Clearly, the SOP says it does. Should it? Opinions will obviously vary.

As a public health official and EMT, I'm also a "required reporter" of child abuse, in any context, by statute. However, I'm in no way legally required to report a bank robbery or shop lifting or any criminal act. (What one does as a good citizen is, of course, another thing.)

The difference is: when I report child abuse, I'm a government actor acting as required by law. A screener who reports the odd doobie in a carry-on is a government actor acting as required by policy.


~~ Irish
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Old Aug 31, 12, 7:55 am
  #74  
 
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Originally Posted by studentff View Post
It seems more serious than even that. The story out of BOS suggests that the BDOs were expected to meet some minimum quota of criminal referrals. There's no practical way to meet that quota by referring terrorists or people with ill intent toward a commercial aircraft; after all in over a decade TSA has never intercepted *one* of these people, and the number who exist is so infinitesimally small it might as well be zero.

So the report out of BOS suggests that BDOs were sent out to specifically seek threats not related to aviation security. That's a whole lot worse than being told to report stuff seen as part of a search, or even training TSOs on identifying "contraband."
Well, if the Bee-dee-ohs made zero referrals for additional screening of suspicious persons exhibiting micro-expressions revealing possible evil intent, the entire BDO program might be questioned as a waste of resources, perhaps even eliminated! <gasp!>

Seriously, the entire concept of meeting quotas is to my mind, one of the most troubling aspects of this whole lousy story. Thank you studentff.
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Old Aug 31, 12, 8:27 am
  #75  
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Originally Posted by gsoltso View Post
The problem with that is the consent search and administrative angle on the consititutionality -which will most likely wind up being settled in a Supreme Court ruling in the future if those policies do not change. There are many arguments (many of them have been presented here) that the consent given at a checkpoint is not an informed consent due to the nature of the regulations and SSI and such - I can see that argument and understand the point made by it. Currently, policy disagrees with that argument, and until there is a change in policy making, or a court ruling that forces a change in either the disclosure of the rules, or a change in policy, we are sadly at an impasse. Both sides of the debate have large audiences and supporters, and both are equally convinced they are in the right, so this will most likely play out in court.
The TSA Administrative Search is limited to searching for WEI, nothing more. When it goes outside of that limitation then TSA and its employees are abusing the United States Constitution and their Oath.
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