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Supporting TSA’s Security Mission With Legal Counsel

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Derrick Ford joined TSA in 2002 as a Supervisory Attorney with the Office of Chief Counsel at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). His primary responsibility is providing legal counsel and support for nine Southern California airports and the Federal Air Marshal Service Los Angeles Field Office.

At Los Angeles International Airport, Derrick Ford, Supervisory Attorney, meets with Leslie Cleland, Program Assistant (left), and Jalunda Wolfe, Paralegal.On a daily basis, Ford and his team tackle issues ranging from human resources to regulatory compliance to screening operations. In addition, Ford trains Officers and local TSA staff on ethics and integrity, Equal Employment Opportunity rights, and the Family and Medical Leave Act. His training extends to teaching local airport employees how to handle Sensitive Security Information and civil enforcement. Additionally, Ford’s responsibilities include assisting the City Attorney’s Office with weekly criminal prosecutions involving prohibited items, drugs, and firearms.

“What I do matters because the legal advice and guidance I provide to our employees ensures that TSA is consistently doing the right thing – both for the employees and traveling public. As an attorney on staff at LAX, my over-arching goal each day is to make everyone’s life easier. Knowing that my team and I are ensuring that the law is upheld and that regulations and procedures are followed, our Officers are able to focus on our counterterrorism mission.

“What I find most rewarding about my work is the incredible dedication to mission shown by employees across TSA, whether it’s at headquarters or in the field. The selfless, committed individuals I collaborate with at LAX and elsewhere in TSA make my job not only easy but also fun and rewarding. The sense of being a valued team member of the agency is both personally and professionally fulfilling, and that’s what drives me to continue to do my best in support of our colleagues on the frontline at airports nationwide.

“No single day is the same. Because of the ongoing threat, our operation remains fluid and always changing. Being able to thoroughly understand and possess a comprehensive understanding of the screening operations, risk-based security, technology, and the needs of partners like the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and FBI, is a rewarding challenge. Another challenge is to be consistently proactive so that we can swiftly identify potential obstacles and think through practical solutions.”

From the Office of Strategic Communications/Public Affairs

Latest revision: 21 February 2014