Department of Public Safety
Protect and Serve
Under the direction of BNA’s Chief of Police and Assistant Vice President David Griswold, the Department of Public Safety consists of commissioned police officers, fire fighters, traffic enforcement officers and administrative staff.
Our top priority is to provide our guests with a combination of the best safety, security, and customer service possible.
Letter from the Chief
Chief of Police and Assistant Vice President of Public Safety W. David Griswold
"Welcome and thank you for visiting Nashville International Airport (BNA) Police Department's webpage. This webpage is one of the many ways the department strives to communicate with our community members. My goal for this website is to provide you with useful information that will keep you informed and provide you with insights into the Airport Police family..."
Welcome and thank you for visiting Nashville International Airport (BNA) Police Department’s webpage. This webpage is one of the many ways the department strives to communicate with our community members. My goal for this website is to provide you with useful information that will keep you informed and provide you with insights into the Airport Police family.
Nashville International Airport’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) is a dual-certified agency that provides full police and aircraft rescue and firefighting services. In addition to these services, the department also provides emergency medical services to airport visitors.
The department oversees the identification office, which ensures employees who work at our airport align with our security requirements, and the Airport Communications Center, a state-of-the-art facility that is operational 24/7 to coordinate our community’s requests for emergency and non-emergency services.
Our focus and dedication is to provide the public with uninterrupted travel through BNA with the comfort of knowing that you are protected as a passenger, visitor or employee. We are grounded in the precept that we are a service organization with a clear and distinct mission of serving the traveling public and the aviation community.
The department is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) since 1996. Nashville International Airport was the first airport in North America to have its police department become CALEA certified. It is currently one of only eight airport police departments to have this designation.
DPS is also state accredited through the Tennessee Law Enforcement Agencies (TLEA) since 2017. The TLEA Program was created under the direction and authority of the Tennessee Association Chiefs of Police (TACP), which promotes and gives its utmost support to the continued improvement of law enforcement and emergency communications services by establishing professional standards of accountability, management and operation.
The Airport Communications Center is also a CALEA accredited communications agency; earning the initial accreditation award in 2005. The Airport Communications Center is the first and only accredited airport communications center in North America.
Our organization is committed to hiring qualified individuals who are inspired to serve the airport community. Our department hosts several recruiting events throughout the year to provide interested candidates with more information and an opportunity to meet and speak with some of our officers and communications technicians. Based on interest, testing dates for public safety officers are scheduled throughout the year for candidates interested in starting the process. For more information, click the Airport Police Training and Recruitment link on the home page.
Thank you once again for visiting the Nashville International Airport Police webpage.
About the Chief
Chief of Police and Assistant Vice President of Public Safety W. David Griswold is a 35-year law enforcement veteran. Chief Griswold began his law enforcement career with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) in 1983. He left TBI in 2004 as the interim director. In 2004, Chief Griswold became Deputy Inspector General for the Office of Inspector General for the state of Tennessee. Chief Griswold remained in this position until his appointment as Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety for Nashville International Airport in 2013. In November of 2017, Chief Griswold was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Public Safety /Chief of Police acquiring control over and direction of the Airport Communications Center and the Emergency Operations Center.
Chief Griswold is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He is also a FBI National Academy graduate, attending the 164th session of the FBI National Academy in 1991.
Chief Griswold’s focus has been to strengthen the agency’s accountability, both within the department and throughout the community. He serves as a board member with the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police. Modernization of the facilities and equipment are a priority but reinforcing professional standards have been paramount to maintaining the high levels of professionalism, training and experience of the fine men and women who serve BNA.
All sworn police 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 (EMTs). Officers utilize foot, bicycle and vehicular patrols to provide safety and public assistance.
Officers 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 at BNA utilizes firefighting equipment that is specifically designed to overcome the challenges of operating on an airfield. ARFF equipment have much larger water tanks than an average truck. This allows emergency responders to go directly to the scene and handle the situation.
BNA’s ARFF personnel are also trained to communicate with the Air Traffic Control Tower to coordinate movement while operating on an active airfield.
The Criminal Investigation Division (CID) conducts a wide variety of criminal investigations which include fraud, property crimes, drug investigations and any other activity where the airport is used in the facilitation or furtherance of a crime. The division frequently works with the Metro Nashville Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Homeland Security, US Secret Service (USSS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and many other local, state, and federal partners.
This division includes two K9 narcotics detection teams.
BNA’s SWAT Team handles extraordinary situations, 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 SWAT unit deploys from different locations to give highly specialized assistance to the uniformed officers already present. Depending on the severity of the situation, the SWAT members sometimes work in conjunction with other specialized teams, including:
- Crisis Negotiators
- Hazardous Devices Team
- Hazardous Materials Unit
- Other Federal, State, Local Agencies
The Crisis Negotiation Team is comprised of specially selected members of the Department of Public Safety. They can 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.)
BNA uses professionals trained in the identification and safe disposal of explosive ordnance, and resolving explosive threats to airport users and property.
The explosive detection K-9 program is controlled by the Transportation Security Administration. The teams receive training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The school is an intensive 12-week training program focused on bonding, socialization, and detection. BNA’s K-9s are used for explosive detection for vehicles, cargo, buildings, aircraft and baggage.
The Hazardous Materials (hazmat) team responds to all hazardous materials incidents on airport property and supports mutual aid departments in hazardous material incidents.
The team is also responsible for responding to off-airport aircraft incidents when requested for mutual aid. Team members are both state and nationally certified, and are equipped with the latest technology to handle up to a Level 3 incident.
The Water Rescue team members pass the International Association of Dive Rescue Specialists (IADRS) Annual Watermanship Test and hold other water rescue certifications. The responsibilities of this team include:
- Maintaining the water rescue equipment of the department
- Providing water awareness courses for newly hired personnel
- Being prepared for mutual aid response
- Developing strategies for water rescue operations
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. The officers selected for the program are chosen because of their strong customer service skills.
Officers are trained by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, which is certified through the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA).
One-third of the department’s officers are licensed EMTs. The unit provides advanced emergency medical care to all airport employees and the traveling public. They carry an assortment of EMS equipment, including public access Automated External Defibrillators (AED) and Intravenous Therapy equipment.
The Training Unit is responsible for all new recruit training as well as training the department’s post-certified police officers and firefighters. An officer is assigned to coordinate training for each discipline.