Syracuse TSA officer helps reunite missing child with family

Monday, June 28, 2021
LTSO Clark photo

A 10-year-old missing child is back home with her family, thanks to a New York TSA officer.

During a late evening drive home from work, Scotti Clark, a lead TSA officer at Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR), happened to spot a small girl in high grass near a swampy area along the side of the road. The youngster was wearing shorts and a T-shirt and carrying only a light blanket.

Clark spotted the blanket, causing her to take a second look. She noted that other drivers in the area did not seem to notice the girl or stop to help.

Clark made a U-turn, parked across the road from the girl and immediately called the Cicero Police Department. Police confirmed the child was recently reported missing by the family and that a search team was assembled and a helicopter was being deployed to assist in the search.

Scotti Clark photo
SYR Lead TSA Officer Scotti Clark (Photo by Diane Donnelly)

“I knew the police would respond quickly, and they did,” Clark recalled.

Clark asked the girl if she was okay. “She said she was okay,” said Clark. “She said she had run away from home and been out[side] for hours. She was extremely chatty.”

Clark sat with the child and continued to engage with her while waiting for police. Soon, law enforcement arrived, and the girl was reunited with her family.

Upstate New York Federal Security Director Bart R. Johnson said Clark is consistently observed by her peers and superiors going above and beyond inside and outside of work.

“[Lead TSA Officer] Clark is vigilant, and her situational awareness and dedication show her commitment to her community,” said New York Assistant Federal Security Director-Screening Brian Bushnell. “She cares for her community and all of the people in it. Scotti showed exemplary and courageous action in helping recover this young child. Her skills she has acquired as a behavior detection officer assisted in her being able to comfort the child and communicate with law enforcement officials.”

While there were other citizens who could have noticed the child to provide aid, Clark was glad she was the one to notice and help the young girl.

“Someone could have caused her harm,” Clark said. “Thunderstorms were about to start rolling through, and we even ended up having tornado warnings nearby. I’m glad I could help her out.”

“[Officer] Clark’s actions are very commendable, and they represent the values of community service that she possesses,” Johnson said. “If it weren’t for the actions of [Officer] Clark, this situation would have started to deteriorate quite rapidly.”