How Safe are TSA Agents?
Over a decade ago, air travelers across the country learned that their mode for transportation was not as safe as they once thought. As a nation we had to sit and watch as our family, friends, and loved ones were used against us. Because of the severity of the situation, the government was expected to act quickly to protect all travelers in the future. Through the experience, the government created a group that would provide security to air travelers for all future events. The group that was created was the Transportation Security Administration. Once the TSA agents were in place they developed a screening process that would help find anyone who could cause harm in a flight. Since this is a government program, we as Americans should expect that they are hiring the right people to do the job. Through their efforts, many wonder whether they actually help travelers or whether they are abusing their power.
If you have traveled in the last decade, then you have probably recognized the long line that forms after you check your bags for the flight. As you look forward, you probably see a long line of people that has formed in front of you to get their carry-on bags checked. One by one everyone files in and their bags go through the scanner. If agents feel that there is something that is not safe, then they are to confiscate it. Many question their tactics and decisions when it comes to confiscating belongings. Though some can understand that a nail file can hurt someone, how does shampoo? There are also reports that these agents are now taking money that does not belong to them. It would probably be safer to make sure that you check your money or that you make sure it stays on you.
While you are getting your bags checked you probably noticed a metal detector. These metal detectors were created so that the agents would be able to see if there was anything that you were trying to sneak past them and not put in your bag. The initial screenings can stress out anyone. You have to give up all your jewelry, jackets, clothing that contains metal, and sometimes shoes. Once you have put all of that on the conveyer belt you will step through the scanner. If you make it through then you are allowed on your way and can pick up your belongings. If the detector goes off then they will probably ask you to step forward again. If something still appears to be wrong then you will be asked to step to the side where another agent can screen you with a handheld advice. If it comes to this prepare to get looks from everyone else.
In an effort to increase safety on airplanes, the TSA enacted random body scans. The purpose of these scans is to randomly select individuals to be pulled aside and go through a separate body scan. The body scan will take a naked image of the individual and will see if there is anything hiding. Many people have claimed that the agents are taking advantage of this power and are actually committing forms of sexual harassment. To alleviate some of the complaints, some airports have created a passenger advocate. It is their job to filter any complaints that you might have regarding how you are treated by a TSA agent. If for some reason you feel that you have been singled out in an inappropriate manor or you have been mistreated, you have the right to report the agents.
The agency was created to help protect U.S. travelers and make them feel safer about other passengers who surround them. Though their efforts at times can be misguided, there is no denying that they are doing some good. In 2011, TSA Agents were able to find:1. Snakes,turtles, and birds2. Martial arts weapons3. Landmines4. A stun gun5. A flare gun and flares6. Knives7. More than 1,200 firearms8. A loaded pistol9. Explosive chunks
In looking at that list, we should all feel a little bit safer knowing that people were not allowed on the planes with these items. It seems that no matter what the government tries to do, they will always be met with some sort of resistance. The main lesson as a traveler is to know what the TSA rules and regulations are and try to make sure that you have followed them as much as possible before you begin the screening process. By being prepared, you will decrease your risk of any misunderstandings or further action being taken upon you. If, however, you still feel that you were violated in some way or that the TSA agents misused their power, then you do have the right to report them and file a complaint.