Nashville International Airport (BNA) serves more than 17 million passengers each year with more than 540 daily flights. 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 and Border Protection, 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 Chief Operations Officer. The department consists of commissioned officers, Traffic Enforcement Officers and 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 (EMTs).
Our top priority is to provide the airport with a combination of the best safety, security and customer service possible.
Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF)
The Department of Public Safety is responsible for responding to the various emergencies that face aircraft and the flying public. Unlike other firefighting departments, 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 life-saving equipment that consists of:
- Extrication equipment
- Ventilation equipment
- Extra SCBA bottles
- Medical Supplies
BNA's ARFF personnel are also trained to communicate with the Air Traffic Control Tower to coordinate movement while operating on an active airfield.
View the video below to see our airport police in action:
The Nashville International Airport Department of Public Safety's SWAT Team 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 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
- 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 six 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, German Shorthaired Pointers, 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
The Hazardous Materials (hazmat) team 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.
Water Rescue Team
The Department of Public Safety’s Water Rescue Team is a recent addition to the department. This team consists of members that pass the International Association of Dive Rescue Specialists (IADRS) Annual Watermanship Test and hold other water rescue certifications. The responsibilities of this team are:
- Maintaining the water rescue equipment of the department
- Providing water awareness courses for newly hired DPS personnel
- Being prepared for mutual aid response
- Developing strategies for water rescue operations
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.
Criminal Investigations Division
The Department's 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 unit consists of a CID Lieutenant, a DEA Task Force Sergeant, and three other investigators. 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.
The Criminal Investigations Division can be reached at (615) 275-2542 during normal business hours.
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.