LEO Flying Armed Experience 2019

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by nikerret, Apr 3, 2019.

  1. nikerret

    nikerret Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2019
    I'm not sure how many are LE, here, but I hope this post can be useful, to them. If I posted in the wrong place, forgive me....I'm new.

    LEO Flying Armed Experience 2019

    Recently, I was sent to New York State, for work. I flew armed, on the plane, as I was on-duty and had to hit the ground running. When I weighed the options I was presented, I settled on making sure everything was a carry on.

    To prepare for this, I poured over the TSA, FAM, and airline websites. All the information I needed was on there, but recent documented experience was hard to come by. Therefore, nikerret provides! I also printed off a copy of NY Penal codes that applied to LE exemptions for firearms and magazine capacities. I was not in NYC, everyone I encountered in NY was very pro-gun.

    Do not use this as the step-by-step guide. Use the previously mentioned resources to make sure you don’t hit a snag.

    A brief summary of the required steps, for those qualified, are to have your dispatch send an NLETS message to the FAM, who will provide you a Unique Identifier (one for each DAY of travel, not each flight). The previous method was to show up to the airport with a letter from your Chief/Sheriff/ETC. That way will not work, you MUST have the NLETS prior approval. I had my approval and UI around 45 minutes after walking out of dispatch. They want this done at least 24 hours prior to your first flight, if possible. You must have been through the training course TSA LE Flying Armed. You are to meet with the Captain and any other armed personnel, before boarding the flight and may not have consumed alcohol in the previous eight hours. Sleeping and alcohol consumption are forbidden, while on the flight. The firearm must be in your immediate control the entire flight and kept concealed.

    At the time, I did not have what I consider to be a great CCW holster. After this experience, changes were made. I usually carry a j-frame, not my duty-appropriate GLOCKS.

    I arrived at the Kansas City airport way earlier than necessary. They will allow LE to park at the PD, call ahead for a parking pass. It’s free and has a very close bus stop.

    I had printed my Boarding Passes, for the day. I went to the Security check-in and told them I was a LEO flying armed. I got sent to the proper location. There, I found out I skipped a vital step. I then walked halfway around the terminal to the airlines counter.

    At the counter, I provided my Unique Identifier, DL, LEID, and by badge. The badge is not required by TSA or the airlines, per se, but the airline personnel wanted it. They had an issue with my badge number, which is a single digit. The badge and the fact they had never heard of where I worked help explain why I was several digits shy of the type of badge number they were used to. They also wanted to see the letter from my boss. I explained the NLETS message replaced the letter, but she wasn’t having it. Fortunately, I had the boss make me a letter, just in case. I’m sure I still would have got on, but the letter sped things up. I was provided a new Boarding Pass and two “Captain’s Copies”. The Captains Copy looked like a Boarding Pass, but stated I was armed, my seat, etc. I was given a Captain’s Copy for each flight.

    I then went back to the LE entrance. To find this, it’s either the exit or the pilot entrance. There will be a TSA person there. Just get their attention and tell them why you’re there. A Supervisor will be called to verify the information.

    In KC, I was let in, after the Supervisor checked all my paperwork, DL, LEID, and again wanted to see my badge. She called the UI in, on the radio and after a brief moment, I was taken in the secure area and into a small room. She had me fill out the flying armed book. You’ll need your NLETS approval to so this. There were boxes for how armed I was: Firearm, Knife, or CEW. The Knife box said “(CBP Only)” beside it. I had a knife on me and started to check the box. The TSA Supervisor stopped me and said to just mark gun. I was then given back my paperwork and sat waiting for my first flight.

    As soon as the gatekeeper got their computer up, I introduced myself. They took the Captain’s Copies and went to the plane. After several minutes, I was told to board and give the Captain his copies, as I met him and introduced myself. I was first on the plane, but two pilots were also flying and walked down the ramp, behind me. We were all provided water and snacks before anyone else boarded the plane. After they closed the forward door, I was asked if I would prefer the rearmost seat, as it was empty. I was pretty far back, already, and figured I might as well be more comfortable. I made sure he notified the Captain of my seat change; which he assured me he had done.

    We arrived at Chicago O’Hare a few minutes late. I was only scheduled a 40 minute layover. Of course, my late plane and rearmost seat were complemented by being two gates away from as far as physically possible to my next flight. By the time I got to my second leg, I only had four minutes before the plane left. Boarding started thirty minutes before the flight left, about the time I was stepping off the plane, on the opposite side of the airport. So much for notifying the Captain, before anyone else boarded. The gatekeeper was kind of a tool and said they had been calling me, on the intercom and that I was supposed to have reported before anyone else boarded. I told him where my plane just came in and that I was there, now. He scoffed and let me on, telling me to check in with the Captain, as I got on. I did, with no issues.

    When I got to New York, I was met by Detectives and off to work. No problem, for me. The others I was meeting missed their flight and would meet up, later.

    Leaving NY, I flew out of Rochester. There were two of us, flying out on the same flight. At the airline ticket counter, I had to show my NLETS, DL, LEID, and badge. He did not want ot see the non-required letter. The only hiccup I had was I was only provided one Captain’s Copy, for the second leg of my trip. The first leg and both from KC to Chicago to NY all had two Captain’s Copies. The airline ticket person said he didn’t know why the extras printed. This provided a bit of stress, but turned out to be a non-issue. My cohort had a bit more issues, but the woman he was working with had less experience. He got through, it just took her longer, trying to figure it all out, on her computer.

    I gave a nod to the security person and showed him my Captain’s Copy. I was then sent ot he exit. We were met by an Airport PD Officer, a Supervisor, and the person normally assigned the EXIT gate. There was much reviewing of the NLETS, LEID, DL, and badge, as well as some radioing. This Supervisor kept asking for more forms of LEID, but he was holding everything we could provide. We were let through with little fanfare, after filling out the same paperwork KC had. I left the knife part blank, as told to do in KC.

    My first flight was from Rochester to Philadelphia. Of course, I again had a scheduled 40 minute layover and we flew into Concourse F, at the far end. My flight was in Concourse B…Fortunately, this flight got in a few minutes early and I was able to get to the gate before anyone boarded. I again provided the Captain’s Copy to the gatekeeper. I was a little nervous as this was the one flight (out of four) I only was provided one Captain’s Copy. No issues. After a few moments, the gatekeeper gave me the nod and I boarded. At the cockpit, I stuck my head in, introduced myself, briefly, and confirmed my seat, with the Captain. Easy.

    If you find yourself flying armed, don’t sweat it. If anything, it’s a hell of a lot more simple than going through the TSA screening and checks. Just make sure you have your stuff beforehand. If you miss your flight, the NLETS message is good for the whole day. If your flight is moved to another day, your dispatch will have to get you a new UI, for the new day.

    Any questions, let me know. I hope this helps some people.
  2. HooDoo Man

    HooDoo Man Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Dec 26, 2017
    Holy Jesus! Just think if you had to use it.
    xerts1191 likes this.

  3. FNFAN

    FNFAN Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    May 15, 2013
    Yes it usually goes very easily as long as you have your NLETS letter and credentials.

    A funny story from awhile back, one of our Investigators flew up to another city off duty and took her badge wallet and credentials as she was going to carry one of her guns she kept at her folks house so she didn't have to check any bags. No issues flying out of Vegas. Coming home, however, TSA said she couldn't take her badge on the plane cause, "it could be used as a weapon." (7 pointed star) This lady does not 'suffer fools glady' so to speak, and got the local PD and the TSA supervisor to explicitly explain things to the bag checker. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall!
  4. 1L26

    1L26 Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2018

    A weaker mind would snap! Damn!

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