LEO Flying Armed Experience 2019 - 1911Forum
1911Forum
Advertise Here
Forum   Reviews   Rules   Legal   Site Supporters & Donations   Advertise


Go Back   1911Forum > >

Notices


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-03-2019, 12:27 PM
nikerret nikerret is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Kansas
Posts: 17
LEO Flying Armed Experience 2019

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.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04-03-2019, 03:54 PM
DRM813 DRM813 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 781
What a mess, but I agree that flying armed is better than standing in line.

Some years back I was working a homicide and had to fly into Denver. It was a one way flight and back then all you needed was the letter from your boss (CLEO).

I skipped all the lines and was first to the plane.

Thanks for the time you took to provide the info.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-03-2019, 07:25 PM
Kevin Rohrer's Avatar
Kevin Rohrer Kevin Rohrer is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Medina, Ohio USA
Posts: 1,837
And just think, if you were a Fed, you would just briefly flash your id while walking past the secret line (I have seen it done). Your fourth paragraph is what I went thru whenever I flew armed (I am not a Fed).

Two tier system? Naaa...
__________________
Member: Orange Gunsite Family, NRA-Life, ARTCA, American Legion, and South Cuyahoga Sportsmen's Assn.

Don't trust Cavery Grips/American Gripz in Clayton, North Carolina. He WILL rip you off.
An armed society is a polite society--Robert Heinlein via The Guru
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #4  
Old 04-04-2019, 10:03 AM
tjpaxton tjpaxton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Sunny Southern California
Posts: 1,168
Thank you for that detailed report.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-08-2019, 01:55 AM
INV136 INV136 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Rohrer View Post
And just think, if you were a Fed, you would just briefly flash your id while walking past the secret line (I have seen it done). Your fourth paragraph is what I went thru whenever I flew armed (I am not a Fed).

Two tier system? Naaa...
Before I retired I worked for a federal agency. We didn't just flash our ID and just "walk past the secret line." Whatever "the secret line" is. I always had to check in at the airline counter, prior to going past security, present my credentials to the airline ticketing agent, and fill out one of the pink forms for armed LEO's. After that I was directed to enter through the hallway marked "EXIT" and present my credentials again to the TSA agent in that hallway.

Then it was a matter of checking in with the gate attendants and showing them my pink form, credentials, and boarding pass. Sometimes the captain wanted to speak to me when I boarded and sometimes the captain just waved me by. One of the flight attendants would always advise me of any other armed passengers and their seat number(s). Of the 10 or 12 times that I flew armed throughout my career, I never flew on a fight that had an Air Marshal on board. Back in late 2003 my agency had us take a TSA FAMS training course because they wanted to have us prepared to assist in the event they needed to back up the Air Marshals on domestic flights during periods that they had intel of possible terrorist activity. Fortunately for us we were never called up for it. The course and their training facility was interesting as was their qualification course.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-28-2019, 12:49 PM
Argos Argos is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: US
Posts: 22
Norm for us (federal, I assume it's the same for local as well) is checking in at special services, then identifying at the "official" TSA checkpoint.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-18-2019, 03:49 AM
Rock185 Rock185 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Under the Tonto Rim, Great Southwest
Posts: 3,298
I'm retired now and never had occasion to fly armed, but have found this thread interesting.

INV136, What was the Air Marshal qualification course? There was an Air Marshal in one of the armorer's courses I attended but I didn't get the opportunity to chat with him..
__________________
NRA Life, COTEP 640
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-18-2019, 10:48 AM
drail drail is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 14,941
Keep in mind that no matter what the TSA tells you the absolute final decision in allowing you to board an aircraft while carrying a weapon is up to ONE person only - the Pilot in Command. No one else. And they WILL be informed that you are bringing a gun onto their aircraft. If he says no - you don't go. Some of them are not gun friendly. Their decision is somewhat influenced by the insurance writer for that airline. They couldn't care less what kind of badge you carry or what your business is. The Federal Air Marshall qual. standards are on the Internet. Do a search - you'll find them. They don't seem all that tough to me. But firing a pistol inside an aircraft filled with terrified people moving around is a very risky proposition.

Last edited by drail; 07-18-2019 at 10:52 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-29-2019, 12:35 AM
INV136 INV136 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock185 View Post
I'm retired now and never had occasion to fly armed, but have found this thread interesting.

INV136, What was the Air Marshal qualification course? There was an Air Marshal in one of the armorer's courses I attended but I didn't get the opportunity to chat with him..
It's been a while, but, we went to their training center in Dallas, TX. They have a TSA training center there for the FAMS as well as the airport screeners. The FAMS have a mock up of the cabin of a commercial jetliner where they conduct scenarios using simunitions. Their firearms qualifications are done on an outdoor range where they have airplane seats placed on the shooting range. I don't remember the specific testing drills, but, they were timed and required you to draw and fire at the targets from seated and other positions. Like all federal firearms qualifications they include combat reloading during the firing sequences.

I remember that I had a little difficulty adjusting to drawing and firing while seated in the cramped seating. It's a lot different than drawing and firing while standing and facing your targets.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-29-2019, 12:45 AM
INV136 INV136 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,008
Quote:
Originally Posted by drail View Post
Keep in mind that no matter what the TSA tells you the absolute final decision in allowing you to board an aircraft while carrying a weapon is up to ONE person only - the Pilot in Command. No one else. And they WILL be informed that you are bringing a gun onto their aircraft. If he says no - you don't go. Some of them are not gun friendly. Their decision is somewhat influenced by the insurance writer for that airline. They couldn't care less what kind of badge you carry or what your business is. The Federal Air Marshall qual. standards are on the Internet. Do a search - you'll find them. They don't seem all that tough to me. But firing a pistol inside an aircraft filled with terrified people moving around is a very risky proposition.
Yes, the captain has the right to have you removed from the plane for any reason. But, in my 28 year career I've flown armed about 17 times. Six times were on duty. Two of those times were on a US Marshal's Service JPATS jetliner piloted by Deputy US Marshal Service pilots, transporting two loads of Haitian illegal alien detainees. I never, ever had a captain with any problem with me flying armed. A couple of times (when I was flying off duty on vacation) the captain told the flight attendant to bypass meeting him at the cockpit, unlike most captains who just want to put a face with the armed passenger. All of the pilots that I did stop and talk to were very cordial and one even said that he was armed as well.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 08-29-2019, 03:04 PM
Kevin Rohrer's Avatar
Kevin Rohrer Kevin Rohrer is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Medina, Ohio USA
Posts: 1,837
How were you able to fly armed if not working?
__________________
Member: Orange Gunsite Family, NRA-Life, ARTCA, American Legion, and South Cuyahoga Sportsmen's Assn.

Don't trust Cavery Grips/American Gripz in Clayton, North Carolina. He WILL rip you off.
An armed society is a polite society--Robert Heinlein via The Guru
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 08-30-2019, 11:07 AM
drail drail is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 14,941
Simply because most of the people involved don't actually know what the rules are.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 08-30-2019, 12:45 PM
2Amister 2Amister is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 137
If you are on duty the YES
If you're not on Duty then NO, its as simple as that. There are protocols for such things and you have to play by the books.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 08-30-2019, 04:49 PM
rangertrace rangertrace is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: N. Richland Hills, Texas
Posts: 1,145
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Amister View Post
If you are on duty the YES
If you're not on Duty then NO, its as simple as that. There are protocols for such things and you have to play by the books.

Well, what I take away from the training is your are on duty and have a real need to be armed during the flight.....ie: transporting a prisoner or something similar.

I find it easier to declare and check my firearm. Mainly because I've never had a real need. And for most cases like that, I'm flying in a DPS aircraft and it doesn't matter as all.
__________________
IDPA #A704306
USPSA #A-61090
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-04-2019, 02:31 PM
rliebeck rliebeck is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Rohrer View Post
How were you able to fly armed if not working?
The last I checked, Federal LEOs are allowed to fly armed while off-duty. State and local are only allowed while on official business (and this is arranged ahead of time by your employer sending a NLETS message to TSA Office of Law Enforcement).
__________________
NRA Instructor & Range Safety Officer

Life Member: NRA (Benefactor), GOA, SAF, CCRKBA, USPSA, SCSA, ICORE, GSSF, NAGR, Coalition of NJ Firearms Owners, NJ 2nd Amendment Society * Annual Member: FPC, IALEFI, ILEETA
Alumni: Gunsite, LFI, ASAA
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 09-04-2019, 09:15 PM
Kevin Rohrer's Avatar
Kevin Rohrer Kevin Rohrer is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Medina, Ohio USA
Posts: 1,837
Quote:
Originally Posted by rliebeck View Post
The last I checked, Federal LEOs are allowed to fly armed while off-duty. State and local are only allowed while on official business (and this is arranged ahead of time by your employer sending a NLETS message to TSA Office of Law Enforcement).
Two-tiered system; got-it.
__________________
Member: Orange Gunsite Family, NRA-Life, ARTCA, American Legion, and South Cuyahoga Sportsmen's Assn.

Don't trust Cavery Grips/American Gripz in Clayton, North Carolina. He WILL rip you off.
An armed society is a polite society--Robert Heinlein via The Guru
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 09-05-2019, 03:21 PM
INV136 INV136 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Rohrer View Post
Two-tiered system; got-it.
Yeah, two tiered, as in one is federal which translates to federal law enforcement anywhere in the entire country and the other tier being state/local with jurisdiction in the state. There is a reason that if a state/local police officer is in pursuit of a fleeing felon and the fleeing felon crosses the state line into another state, they have to terminate the pursuit and leave it to the state/local authorities in the other state. So, you can blame the lower tier on the states for not allowing you to carry your firearm in their (all 50) state. Got it?
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 09-05-2019, 06:27 PM
drail drail is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 14,941
"The last I checked, Federal LEOs are allowed to fly armed while off duty". "Allowed" by whom? The air carrier? The FAA?
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 09-05-2019, 08:05 PM
rliebeck rliebeck is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by drail View Post
"The last I checked, Federal LEOs are allowed to fly armed while off duty". "Allowed" by whom? The air carrier? The FAA?
TSA is in charge of/enforces all security regulations for US civil aviation (FAA used to, but all FAA security jurisdiction was absorbed by TSA). But as others have noted, final say about who/what comes onboard the aircraft is the pilot's. I assume if a pilot barred an armed LEO from boarding (assuming the LEO is in compliance with all requirements) the pilot would have to explain his actions to his employing airline.
__________________
NRA Instructor & Range Safety Officer

Life Member: NRA (Benefactor), GOA, SAF, CCRKBA, USPSA, SCSA, ICORE, GSSF, NAGR, Coalition of NJ Firearms Owners, NJ 2nd Amendment Society * Annual Member: FPC, IALEFI, ILEETA
Alumni: Gunsite, LFI, ASAA
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 09-07-2019, 02:41 PM
drail drail is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 14,941
Would a TSA agent have to explain his to anyone? TSA have no law enforcement powers.

Last edited by drail; 09-07-2019 at 05:43 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 09-08-2019, 12:26 AM
Kevin Rohrer's Avatar
Kevin Rohrer Kevin Rohrer is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Medina, Ohio USA
Posts: 1,837
Quote:
Originally Posted by INV136 View Post
Yeah, two tiered, as in one is federal which translates to federal law enforcement anywhere in the entire country and the other tier being state/local with jurisdiction in the state. There is a reason that if a state/local police officer is in pursuit of a fleeing felon and the fleeing felon crosses the state line into another state, they have to terminate the pursuit and leave it to the state/local authorities in the other state. So, you can blame the lower tier on the states for not allowing you to carry your firearm in their (all 50) state. Got it?
I could discuss "permission" vs. the 2A and the LEOSA, but will reframe. Enjoy that upper tier.
__________________
Member: Orange Gunsite Family, NRA-Life, ARTCA, American Legion, and South Cuyahoga Sportsmen's Assn.

Don't trust Cavery Grips/American Gripz in Clayton, North Carolina. He WILL rip you off.
An armed society is a polite society--Robert Heinlein via The Guru
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 09-08-2019, 01:07 AM
rliebeck rliebeck is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by drail View Post
Would a TSA agent have to explain his to anyone? TSA have no law enforcement powers.
TSA includes the Federal Air Marshal Service and a criminal investigation division (both part of the TSA Office of Law Enforcement). While the uniformed screeners have no LE powers, TSA as a whole certainly does. The approval and coordination of the LEO Flying While Armed program is handled by the Office of Law Enforcement, not the screeners.
__________________
NRA Instructor & Range Safety Officer

Life Member: NRA (Benefactor), GOA, SAF, CCRKBA, USPSA, SCSA, ICORE, GSSF, NAGR, Coalition of NJ Firearms Owners, NJ 2nd Amendment Society * Annual Member: FPC, IALEFI, ILEETA
Alumni: Gunsite, LFI, ASAA
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 01-09-2020, 11:01 AM
NW GUY NW GUY is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 16
AHHH for the good old days..

Anyone else remember when if you were a cop you walked onto the plane, (TSA...what is that???)
Anyway,
you showed your ID, told the stew you were armed and she would bop in and advise the captain. It didn't matter if you were "working" or just on vacation.
Back in the early days of hijackers and such...
and
it was captains discretion of whether he took the firearm for the flight or left you with it.

Last time I was flying back from Denver, the stew.. NEW at her job, I tell her "I am a police officer and I am armed" she jumps into the cockpit and not quite yells, "There is a man out here with a gun!" I follow her in and tell everyone POLICE OFFICER...
anyway, the captain asks me what I am carrying. I tell him a Colt Commander in .45 "Are you any good with it?" Looked him in the eye and said "I can keep every round inside the chest the full length of this plane." He smiled and said "Keep it."

After all the TSA stuff came on line I only flew armed when I was working for the big co-op concept team and I was always flying with a "handler" as they used to call it because no matter what Fed credentials I had NO ONE would have believed them looking the way I did. So, I always traveled with a nice clean cut FBI or DEA agent. At the counter it was always hilarious as the agents tried to make the counter folks believe I really was a real police officer.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 01-09-2020, 10:02 PM
DR505 DR505 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,965
Just retired, but must have flown armed 20 times a year for the past decade. As a Fed we had jurisdiction onboard the airplane, so it didn’t matter if we were on official travel or personal travel; we were on duty. That made for many boring flights with no sleeping and no alcohol at all, not even on a layover. Many times I watched the TSA precheck go through screening faster than I went around security but through various checks. Most ever armed LEOs with me on one flight was 25, from 6 different agencies. The purser asked if she should be concerned and my reply was that this was the safest flight she was likely to see.
__________________
An armed society is a polite society.
-Robert A. Heinlein-
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:50 AM.


NOTICE TO USERS OF THIS SITE: By continuing to use this site, you certify that you have read and agree to abide by the Legal Terms of Use. All information, data, text or other materials ("Content") posted to this site by any users are the sole responsibility of those users. 1911Forum does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity, or quality of such Content.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 2015 1911Forum.com, LLC. All Rights Reserved