Memo regarding FAA Policy Change

President Bill BergerPresident BergerThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently instituted a new policy which will have direct impact upon the ability of law enforcement officers to travel on airplanes while armed. As of Wednesday, November 14, 2001 no law enforcement officer will be able to carry a firearm on an airplane unless they have completed FAA training for "Law Enforcement Officers Flying Armed". This requirement includes officers on official duty, as well as those on personal travel. This means that any officer who shows up at the gate with a letter authorizing travel with a weapon will not be allowed to bring the weapon on board the plane unless they have completed the training program. According to the FAA, the training package for “Law Enforcement Officers Flying Armed” was distributed to all regional training academies and state POSTs in 1994 and the materials or the training itself may be obtained from these agencies. In addition, the FAA has informed IACP that any individual who has been certified by their state or locality as a qualified firearm or general law enforcement trainer is eligible to use these materials in order to provide this training to law enforcement officers. The time necessary to complete the training program is approximately two hours. The FAA did send out a notice announcing this policy via the NLETS system on October 5, 2001, but that is the only notice that has been provided to state and local law enforcement agencies. (A copy of this notice may found on the IACP web site under the heading FAA Policy Change). Despite the NLETS notice, it is unclear how many agencies are actually aware of this policy shift and it will undoubtedly lead to situations where officers on official duty are unable to board an aircraft because they have not completed the training requirement. Because of the potential confusion caused by this new policy and the fact that it has not been widely published, I wanted to ensure that this information was passed on to you. I urge you to forward this information to other IACP members and law enforcement officials in your area. The IACP is continuing to work with the FAA on this issue and will provide you additional information as it becomes available.