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View Full Version : What kind of security is in a US airport?



MonaLeigh
02-21-2009, 07:07 PM
I'm working on a short sketch comedy bit about a vibrator in an airport that people think is a bomb. Do security guards carry guns? Would they have bomb-sniffing dogs? What would happen if a bomb was suspected in a suitcase left in a dining area?

Thanks:)

Jersey Chick
02-21-2009, 07:15 PM
Our major airports - Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark (NY/NJ area) are patrolled by Port Authority police officers - which is a joint agency between NY and NJ. They are cops and they do carry guns. They have bomb dogs and patrol (at least at Newark, where I've been many, many times) regularly. I don't know how it works at other airports, though - so that might depend on where your story is set.

I don't know what SOP would be regarding a suspicious suitcase - I've been lucky enough to have relatively normal airport experiences. :D

I'm sure someone else will know a lot more! :D

alleycat
02-21-2009, 07:17 PM
First, I can see where that could be very funny if done right. I can just see the bomb squad trying to disarm a vibrator.

Since this is a comedy bit, I wouldn't worry too much about being absolutely correct in every detail. If you want bomb sniffing dogs in the scene, add them. There used to be two or three types of airport guards; airport police, armed security guards, and the regular, unarmed guys. With all the Homeland Security stuff, that has changed somewhat.

If a suitcase was found that was suspected of having a bomb, they would overreact in the name of "playing it safe". They would close down the terminal, maybe the roads to the airport, maybe stop all planes from taking off, etc.

I'm no expert on airport security, just throwing out some ideas.

RJK
02-21-2009, 09:15 PM
All airports with regular commercial air traffic have Port Authority Police. All may not have a bomb sniffing dog or a bomb squad but they would have access to both.
The hole I see in your story is, the dogs are trained to sniff out certain chemicals. These are not very common (or there would be false alarms all the time). I don't really want to go to what the dog would be smelling on a vibrator, but I don't think it would be explosive.
Another problem, even on an Xray, a vibrator would be easily identifiable to most adults.
On the other hand, security would definitely react to an unattended bag, no matter what it contained.

donroc
02-21-2009, 09:26 PM
At THE Logan airport 9 months after 9/11, I was wanded and had to remove my shoes on demanded by a security person who could barely speak English, and another called over to him, "Hey, Mohammed ...." That is comedy manque.

MonaLeigh
02-21-2009, 09:29 PM
Thank you!

alleycat
02-21-2009, 09:33 PM
I hope you post the story in SYW when you're finished. I'd like to read it.

Uh, I'm sure you're aware that there is a quite a variety of vibrators these days. That's what I've heard anyway. ;-)

I have a funny true-life story I could share . . . but I better not.

jeseymour
02-22-2009, 03:38 AM
Manchester NH airport had Rockingham county sheriffs doing security, which was odd, because it's not in that county. I think Hillsborough county sheriffs have now taken over. There are national guard troops hanging around too, with SMGs. Never seen any bomb dogs.

StephanieFox
02-22-2009, 08:28 AM
I've seen dogs, but they tend not to use them on people because some people are afraid of dogs. Dogs sniff the suit cases. However, it would be pretty funny to have a dog sniffing the person's private area.

I would like to see this piece of comedy. It sounds pretty funny already.

indiriverflow
02-24-2009, 02:31 AM
I'm working on a short sketch comedy bit about a vibrator in an airport that people think is a bomb. Do security guards carry guns? Would they have bomb-sniffing dogs? What would happen if a bomb was suspected in a suitcase left in a dining area?

Thanks:)

I do hope you realize this was the subject of a scene in the Chuck Palahniuk novel, Choke, recently made into a film. The conversation with the security/bag handler was used in the trailer. The protagonist has been held over on suspicion of bomb threat due to an electric him in his bag. The security clerk confides that although usually electric razors are to blame, one time out of ten it is a vibrator.

I'm afraid your thunder has been shoplifted.

Although, upon reflection, it would be a little different if it were physical sketch comedy...I could see a British audience eating it up. It would also make a great candid-camera prank.

backslashbaby
02-24-2009, 07:28 AM
In Philly, Charlotte, Gatwick and Dublin, they just take you aside (to another room, or another part of security with tables) to look at your things closer with you if anything seems odd on X-ray. Or if you get picked for the random search. Kind of anticlimatic ;)

An unattended suitcase could get more dramatic, I'd bet!

I've never seen guns, I don't think, but in the US, I wouldn't think twice if I did.

I've only seen dogs in Austrian trains/train stations.