WASHINGTON - Seven Transportation Security Administration officers of a workforce of approximately 45,000 officers were recently honored by the agency’s Office of Civil Rights and Liberties, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement for their outstanding customer support skills at their airports, including a TSA officer from Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
All seven officers volunteer to serve as passenger support specialists, assisting passengers who often have special needs when they go through the security screening process. Each of the officers were nominated by their peers and airport leadership.
Buffalo Niagara International Airport Transportation Security Officer Paula Carter, one of the honorees, is known as being helpful and compassionate to travelers and for providing exemplary service. She often is called on and depended on by supervisory officers and security managers at the airport to handle complex traveler requests and situations. She also has been recognized for calmly and professionally de-escalating a situation involving a traveler at the checkpoint who was reported to be armed.
Travelers requiring special accommodations or who have concerns about the security screening process at the airport may ask a TSA officer or supervisor for a passenger support specialist who can provide on-the-spot assistance by requesting it in advance by contacting TSA Cares. TSA Cares is a helpline that provides travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances additional assistance during the security screening process. Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.
In addition to Ms. Carter, other award winners included Transportation Security Officer Madeline Naill from Washington Reagan National Airport; Supervisory Transportation Security Officer Eric Talley from Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport; Transportation Security Officer Sangtawan “Tawan” Bernkopf from Portland International Airport; Transportation Security Officer Eric Stenger from Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport; Supervisory Transportation Security Officer Michelle Joy Maderas from Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport; and Supervisory Transportation Security Officer Brian Pranke from Dane County Regional Airport.