Criminal Caught in Observation Net at Texas Airport

June 17, 2008

A woman was arrested earlier this spring at Lubbock (Texas) International Airport (LBB). It's not that she had a sign around her neck that said, "arrest me for outstanding warrants," but she might as well have since she unwittingly walked into the line of sight of a TSA behavior detection officer (BDO).

BDOs are trained to detect individuals exhibiting behaviors that indicate they may be a threat to transportation security. They screen travelers for involuntary physical and physiological reactions that people exhibit in response to a fear of being discovered.

A Lubbock BDO at the checkpoint that day observed the female passenger displaying suspicious behaviors. The officer quickly relayed the information to another officer who saw the passenger display additional behaviors inconsistent with the environment. This combined behavior – known as a "clustering of behaviors" – prompted the officers to decide the passenger would need to pass through additional screening before she would be allowed to continue through the checkpoint.

After the screening, the BDOs began a casual conversation with the passenger while conducting screening of her carry-on property. During the conversation, the officers noted additional behaviors consistent with deception. Based on the passenger's combined behaviors, the BDOs requested law enforcement intervention and questioning.

The law enforcement officer called to the scene agreed with the BDOs' assessment and conducted a National Criminal Information Center check which showed the passenger had outstanding warrants. She was immediately taken into custody.

The entire screening procedure and law-enforcement notification was conducted in only five minutes. The incident did not result in delays to the airlines and did not affect any other passengers.

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