When the United States Secret Service reached out to TSA in Casper, Wyoming for screening assistance, TSA Federal Security Director Richard Whitmer’s team saddled up.
The team from Casper-Natrona County International Airport joined the Secret Service and Casper’s law enforcement teams to screen political rally attendees at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper.
Team TSA Wyoming included Expert Security Training Instructor Nathanael Meade, Master Security Training Instructors Christopher Madden and Annamaria Coons, Lead TSA officer Acacia Phillips and TSA officer Dan Walker.
“One thing that really struck me about this event was how seamlessly our team integrated with the Secret Service,” said Walker. “Each TSA officer was paired with an agent. Within a matter of several minutes, we had developed a rapport with them, which rapidly evolved into a physical shorthand between us once screening started.”
“I really enjoyed working with Secret Service, “commented Coons. “The guys were really great and gave us a lot of insight to what goes on behind the scene and what all their jobs entail.”
With attendees arriving from all over the country during Memorial Day weekend, TSA and the Secret Service screened nearly 10,000 attendees prior to the event.
The biggest challenge the officers encountered was all bags and personal effects had to be hand-searched without the use of TSA X-ray screening technology.
“Time flew by from the time we opened about 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.,” said Madden. We screened over 9,500 people through six [screening] lanes, five being manned by TSA. It was an all-around great experience and I would gladly do again.”
“Our officers have enjoyed the experience a great deal,” said Whitmer. “It gives them the opportunity to meet new people and make contacts within other agencies. They get a chance to demonstrate their expertise in screening and security operations and enhance the unique skills and capabilities of the Secret Service.”
By Wayne Carey, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs