In a successful exercise, TSA coordinated closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and other government agencies to continue to enhance training and information sharing. TSA employees at Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) participated in the multiagency Strike Force Operation.
The exercise was initiated by the Coast Guard and coordinated by HOU Surface Transportation Security Inspectors (TSI) Angelo Villafone, Martin Zelezinski and Jerry Hall. The objective was to establish and enhance interagency cooperation. TSA’s role was to verify Transportation Workers Identification Credentials (TWIC). Including this event, HOU has conducted several thousand TWIC verifications over the last year.
Additional participating agencies included Customs and Border Protection, the Houston Police Department and the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
“Multiple agencies seek insight and guidance from our inspectors as the subject matter experts in regulatory and security,” said Hall. TSA-HOU Surface conducts several outreach exercises throughout the year. The activities provide training; prevent, detect, and deter violations; facilitate information sharing; conduct joint operations and determine how to better enforce and maintain safety and security in Houston’s high threat urban area and surrounding counties.
“The team is always eager to take on new projects,” explained Supervisory TSI Bruce McClary-Davis. “Their willingness has strengthened HOU’s partnerships with surface transportation.”
Additional stakeholder engagement included HOU’s surface inspectors and field intelligence officers involved in First Observer Plus™ training and intelligence briefs for approximately 2,700 transportation employees.
“As a parent, it’s truly rewarding to share our knowledge with (school) bus drivers,” said TSI Elyssa Wetcher.