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Tampa International Airport Police

Pre-Covid-19, the Tampa International Airport had more than 19 million passengers each year. As a result of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) global pandemic, the passenger volume at the Tampa International Airport (TPA) has gone down dramatically.

Nevertheless, the number of arrests and cash seizures for forfeiture at the airport has increased. Many of these arrests or seizures involve officers with the Tampa International Airport Police Department (“TIAPD”).

Focused on security, the TIAPD is comprised of more than 40 support personnel, 50 traffic specialists, and 60 sworn police officers. Officers with the Tampa International Airport Police Department (TIAPD) make arrests for crimes that occur at the airport. In addition, TIAPD officers seize illicit currency or contraband for forfeiture from passengers.

TIAPD provides traditional professional law enforcement services at the airport 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.

Some TIAPD officers are assigned to the Special Investigations Unit or work with a K-9 partner. Under the leadership of Police Chief Charlie Vazquez, officers in the Special Investigative Unit take a proactive approach to narcotics interdiction and the seizure of illicit currency.

TIAPD officers work with federal agents assigned to U.S. Customs and Border Control (CBP), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Attorneys for an Arrest or Seizure by TIAPD Officers

If you were detained or arrested by a law enforcement officer with the Tampa International Airport Police Department (TIAPD), then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.

Our attorneys represent clients on a variety of charges including:

We represent clients after currency is seized at the airport in a civil asset forfeiture action. Recently, officers with the airport police department have started issuing their own TIAPD notice of seizures of U.S. Currency to travelers based on suspicion of drug trafficking or money laundering.

TIAPD officers also work with agents from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

With offices in downtown Tampa, call us to discuss your case, the charges pending against you, the potential punishments, and the best way to fight the case after an arrest at Tampa International Airport for criminal charges.

Call us today at 813-250-0500.

Interesting Facts about TIAPD

The TIAPD is accredited through the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation Inc. The Tampa International Airport Human Resources and the Airport Police Professional Standards Unit handle recruiting and employment for the TIAPD.

Paul Sireci, the director of public safety at the Tampa International Airport who served as police chief for the airport stepped down in 2017. Deputy chief, Ralph Anthony, also resigned in 2017. In June of 2017, Charles Vazquez became the newest Chief of Police at the TIAPD and currently serves as the highest-ranking law enforcement officer ensuring the public safety and security of Tampa International Airport.

The Tactical Response Unit (TRU) of the Tampa International Airport was implemented in October of 2018. The TRU unit at the airport is responsible for K9 Interdiction.

The eight members consist of the Narcotics K9, the EDIC K9, four team members, the team leader, and the team commander. In 2018, it participated in 58 EDIC deployments and 100 drug interdiction deployments resulting in the seizure of controlled substances and more than $100,000 in U.S. currency.

Canine (K9) Unit at the Tampa International Airport Police Department

The canine unit at the TIAPD includes a Unit Sergeant, Unit Corporal / Handler, and additional TSA K9 Handlers. The canine and their handlers investigate suspicious packages and luggage.

The canine unit looks for travelers who might be smuggling large amounts of bulk cash, drugs, or other contraband through the airport.

Each year, the canine unit conducts deployments, and searches aircraft, cargo shipments, vehicles, and bags. In addition, the TIAPD K9 Unit participated in community events including the TIAPD’s Citizen’s Police Academy, the Gasparilla Celebration, and Plant City’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Crime Prevention Unit at the Tampa International Airport

The Crime Prevention Unit at the Tampa International Airport Police Department (TIAPD) participates in community events to educate the public on safety and law enforcement topics.

The officers have participated in Safety Day Events, The Great American Teach In, National Night Out Against Crime,  and Coffee With a Cop. The Crime Prevention Unit provides tours of the police department located at the Tampa International Airport.

Citizens Police Academy (CPA) at the TIAPD

The Tampa International Airport Police Department created the Citizen Police Academy in 2018 to provide insights into how the department serves the
community and how police officers perform their duties. Each Spring and Fall, sessions are held once a week for six weeks.

Participants in the Citizen Police Academy experience might ride a shift with a TIAPD officer, train to shoot firearms, view a K-9 demonstration, or compete in the physical abilities test (PAT).

Applications for the Citizen Police Academy at Tampa International Airport can be found on the TPA website and can be returned to TPACPA@tampaairport.com.

Contact Information

Tampa International Airport
4160 George J. Bean Parkway
Suite 2400
Tampa, FL 33607
Tip Line: 1(877) 847-7842

Additional Resources

Tampa International Airport Police Department – Visit the website of the Tampa International Airport Department of Public Safety & Security (TIAPD) to learn more about reporting a crime, requesting a police report, or sharing a complaint about airport police. The Airport Police Professional Standards Unit and the Tampa International Airport Human Resources handles questions about finding a job with TIAPD, employment opportunities, and recruiting. Units within the airport police include Traffic, K9, Crime Prevention, Bike Detail, Airport Operation Center, Lost and Found, Administration, Traffic, and Professional Services.

This article was last updated on Friday, January 22, 2021.

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