A former security guard at Tulsa International Airport says he's blowing the whistle on what he calls lax, unprofessional conduct. He says among other things, some airport security guards routinely sleep on duty.
These allegations come on the heels of Tulsa's mayor requesting a federal investigation of airport operations. News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright has the story.
Dereck Habeck left the Muskogee Police Department after getting stabbed in an ambush, which damaged his peripheral vision. He got hired as a Tulsa Airport security guard last April. He says the officer assigned to train him, parked in various spots for his nightly, on-duty nap.
Habeck says he was appalled and believes airline passengers would be too. "I doubt they'd appreciate the people who were supposed to guard the plane, asleep on the job the night before." Habeck says it didn't just happen with him and he's got proof. Tape recordings of conversations with co-workers and supervisors.
One guy says he has the same trouble with the same training officer. Audio tape: "As soon as he found out I could operate the radio and do the fuel check, we'd start the fuel check and he'd go to sleep. I'd do the whole thing, basically by myself.â€ Airport security guards are in charge of keeping the perimeter, parking lots and runways safe.
Habeck's other complaints were guards driving 90-100 miles an hour off airport property for no reason, tearing up tickets for attractive women and going on calls outside their jurisdiction. "I've heard them described as unsupervised Boy Scouts and unfortunately, it's true."
Habeck says he requested a new training officer and a different shift, but was denied. He says he filed a confidential complaint with his supervisors, but soon, several of his co-workers knew about it, ostracized him and threatened not to back him up during an emergency.
He felt forced to quit, so, he contacted a lawyer, who's notified the city, they plan to sue. Jeff Nix, attorney: "These guys are running around with guns, lights, sirens and they're loose cannons. And, when you have them carrying cannons, you have a real problem."
Habeck says he's still being harassed, receiving hang-up calls from the airport security office. He says he hopes changes will happen, because in this post 9-11 world, he says people expect more. Habeck says guards were instructed to record conversations with citizens; so, it wasn't unusual to have a tape recorder running.
The airport says all policies and procedures regarding Habeck's complaint were followed, but because it's a human resource issue and involves potential litigation, they cannot comment further.
The mayor's office says it can't comment on the specifics of why it's requested a federal investigation or whether Habeck's complaints are a part of it.