The Nashville International Airport handles over 9.8 million commercial aviation passengers each year with more than 280 daily flight operations. The department utilizes foot, bicycle and vehicular patrols to provide safety and public assistance.
The police work in cooperation with a number of local, state and federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration, FBI, U.S. Customs Service, Federal Aviation Administration, IRS, Secret Service, State Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Postal Inspector, Metropolitan Nashville Police and Fire Departments and the Metropolitan Nashville Office of Emergency Management.
The Department of Public Safety is headed by a chief under the general direction of the senior vice president of Operations, Maintenance and Public Safety. The department consist of 65 commissioned officers, 26 Traffic Enforcement Officers and 5 administrative staff. All sworn officers meet all FAR Part 1542.217 and FAR part 139 requirements. One third of the department’s sworn positions are trained Emergency Medical Technicians.
Our top priority is to provide the airport with a combination of the best safety, security and customer service possible.
The Nashville International Airport's Department of Public Safety Airport Containment Team (A.C.T.) was formed in 1994. This team of specialized members was created to handle extra-ordinary situations that might arise, including:
- V.I.P. Protections
- Hostage Situations
- Area Containment
- Other unusual situations (large-scale arrest, barricaded subjects, etc.)
When requested by an on-duty commander, the A.C.T. unit deploys from different locations to give highly specialized assistance to the uniformed officers already present. Depending on the severity of the situation, the A.C.T. members sometimes work in conjunction with other specialized teams, including:
- Crisis Negotiators
- Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit
- Hazardous Materials Unit
- Other Federal, State, Local agencies
Hostage Negotiations Unit
In 1994 the Nashville International Airport anticipated a possible need for several highly trained individuals in the area of negotiation techniques. This need laid the groundwork for what is today called the Crisis Negotiation Team (C.N.T.) These specially selected members of the Department of Public Safety can be used to assist other specialized units and outside agencies with a myriad of problems including:
- Hostage Situations
- Mentally Ill Persons
- Suicidal Persons
- Intelligence Gathering
- Other unusual occurrences (combative prisoners, etc.)
Crisis negotiators receive training from other federal, state or local agencies in the areas of intelligence gathering, threat evaluation and problem resolution. The crisis negotiator's abilities are used to reduce the threat of otherwise volatile situations and minimize suffering.
Hazardous Devices Team
The Department uses professionals trained in the identification and safe disposal of explosive ordnance and resolving explosive threats to airport users and property.
K- 9 Explosive Detection Teams
The Nashville International Airport Department of Public Safety's explosive detection program consists of teams of officers and K-9s trained to detect explosives. The program began in 1988 with one team and evolved to a total of 6 teams in 1993. The canines were locally procured and trained, then certified through the United States Police Canine Association. During this time, several breeds were used in the program, including: German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers and Belgium Malinois.
The present explosive detection K-9 program is controlled by the Transportation Security Administration. The dogs are the property of the Transportation Security Administration. The teams receive training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The school is an intensive twelve-week training program focusing on bonding, socialization and detection. The K-9s are used for explosive detection for vehicles, cargo, buildings, aircraft and baggage. They are not used for apprehension or attack work
Hazardous Materials Team
A seven-member team that responds to all hazardous materials incidents on the airport property and supports mutual aid departments in hazardous material incidents. The team is responsible for responding to off-airport aircraft incidents when requested for mutual aid. Team members are both state and nationally certified and utilize a 20' trailer and response vehicle when called. The team is equipped with the latest technology to handle up to a Level 3 incident.
The Department uses bike patrols as a way of providing better security and customer service at the airport. The officers work mainly in the public parking lots and around the terminal building. Bike patrol officers are more mobile and flexible, allowing them access to places they can't otherwise access with patrol cars. Several officers are trained for bike patrols. The officers selected for the program are chosen because of their strong customer service skills. Additional benefits of bicycle patrols, include:
- Subjects on foot can't generally outrun officers on bicycles.
- Officers can approach silently on the specially designed bicycles.
- Much more ground can be covered on a bicycle patrol than on foot.
- Bicycles can go where cars are unable to go.
- Costs are less for bicycles than cars.
The airport bicycle patrol officers rotate on shifts throughout the day but perform their regular duties when not on assignment. The officers are trained by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, which is certified through the International Police Mountain Bike Association (I.P.M.B.A.). The program has been adapted for the airport.
Medical Technician Unit
One third of the department's officers are EMT licensed. The unit provides advanced emergency medical care to all airport employees and the traveling public. The unit carries a full compliment of EMS equipment, including public access Automated External Defibrillators(AED) and Intravenous Therapy equipment. AEDs are located throughout the airport terminal building.
The Department's Investigations Unit conducts a wide variety of criminal and internal investigations. The Investigations Unit can be reached at (615) 275-4482.
The Training Unit is responsible for all new recruit training as well as maintaining training for the department's post-certified Police Officers and Firefighters. An officer is assigned to coordinate training for each discipline. The office can be reached at (615) 275-2323 or by e-mail.