Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Police Department to Host 2013 International Airport Watch Summit

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL—“If you see something, say something” has become the mantra for Homeland Security efforts across the nation, including airport security. No one takes that mantra more seriously than representatives of airport watch programs, who will meet at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) this month for the 2013 International Airport Watch Summit.
 
Hosted by the MSP Airport Police Department, the summit is an opportunity for people involved in law enforcement, airport operations and security to learn how to develop successful airport watch programs and share best practices. At this year’s event, Sgt. Jacques Brunelle of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will review the history of Airport Watch programs. Speakers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Transportation Security Administration and MSP Airport Police Department will lead discussions and demonstrations on terrorism and security-related issues. Other topics will include recruitment and training of volunteers, an intelligence and safety briefing, and a tour of MSP’s airfield.
 
The summit will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., July 13 at the Metropolitan Airports Commission’s General Offices, 6040 28th Ave. South, in Minneapolis. To register, contact Officer Jolynn Christianson at 612-726-5115 or by email, jolynn.christianson@mspmac.org. Attendance will be limited to the first 100 registrants. There is no charge to register.
 
The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Police developed the MSP Airport Watch program in 2008. The program has grown from 10 participants initially to more than 80 members today. It has also expanded to other Metropolitan Airports Commission airports: Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, MN and Anoka County-Blaine Airport in Blaine, MN, where members work with local police.
 
Airport watch programs are similar to neighborhood watch programs in that volunteer citizens work closely with law enforcement to reduce crime. However, participants in airport watch programs also look for security concerns, such as fence line damage or people entering unauthorized areas, and report them to police.
 
“Security is everyone’s business, and airport watch programs provide an opportunity for citizens to become actively engaged in protecting their communities and the nation as a whole,” said Matt Christenson, patrol commander of the MSP Airport Police. “Many participants are aviation enthusiasts who welcome the chance to provide a valuable public service while also enjoying the airport surroundings. The Airport Watch Summit provides a venue for sharing ideas and information that people can take back to their own communities to make them safer and more secure.”
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