At CCIA, police, fire and medical professionals stand ready for anything.
By: Kim Bridger
When you think of security at an airport, most people think of the TSA. After all, it’s the Transportation Safety Administration, which is responsible for screening people and luggage before they are allowed on commercial airplanes. But there is another element of security in play at Corpus Christi International Airport (CCIA) that many of our customers don’t know about. If you haven’t come into contact with a CCIA public safety officer, that’s probably a good thing. It probably means you haven’t run into any trouble during your visits to CCIA.
It also means you probably haven’t met Lt. Raleigh Frazier, who came to work at the airport nearly 20 years ago. At the time, he was fresh out of the U.S. Air Force and looking for a career that would allow him to use the education and military training he had under his belt. In the Air Force, Frazier was an aircraft rescue firefighter. When he joined the military, he already had a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. What do you get when you combine law enforcement and firefighting? You get exactly what is required to keep people, property and aircrafts safe at an airport.
Certifiably Prepared for Duty
Frazier has nearly a dozen certifications in firefighting, law enforcement, emergency medical care and training. He and his fellow public safety officers put their expertise to work every day at CCIA. When not responding to emergencies, officers are patrolling the airport, helping tenants and customers with problems that arise and enforcing local and state laws dealing with traffic, parking and the general security and safety of all who come and go at CCIA.
There are times when CCIA’s public safety officers go above and beyond the call of duty. Frazier recalls a late night one Christmas Eve when a couple arrived on a flight only to find that their vehicle in the parking lot had a flat tire and they had no spare. “They were really upset,” Frazier says. “The weather was nasty, and they were desperate to get home to their family to celebrate the holiday.”
It just so happened that they drove the same kind of car as Frazier did, so he went to his personal vehicle, retrieved his own spare and helped them change the tire. “The lady later wrote a letter thanking me for helping them out,” Frazier says. That kind of scenario plays out often at CCIA.
Protect and Serve
CCIA consists of about 2,700 acres of land. It’s like a small city consisting of public streets, parking lots, a large terminal, an airfield, runways and about a dozen private businesses that operate on airport property. Commercial airports are heavily regulated by the federal government, which requires that we have fire, police and emergency medical protection at all times. It’s been said that airports are among the safest places on earth. If that’s true, it’s no accident.
Public safety officers at CCIA work shifts that are similar to other police and fire forces. They provide fire protection 24 hours a day and are always ready for whatever comes their way. They respond to calls about traffic accidents, fights, suspicious activity, emergency landings, heart attacks and customers who just need some kind of help. They prepare for the unthinkable and stand ready to respond to any kind of emergency. When a pilot radios in with a mechanical or other problem on board, it is CCIA’s public safety officers who rush to the runway with the skills and equipment needed to manage the situation in a way that protects life and property.
Air travel has changed so much since 9/11. Airports have changed, too. The one thing we know is that anything can happen. Anytime. Anywhere. So if you find yourself wondering who is keeping an eye on things at CCIA, just remember that Frazier and his fellow public safety officers are out on patrol. They’re out on airport streets, in the parking lot and in and around the terminal and the airfield. They are watching over us and taking steps to keep the peace.
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming part of the airport public safety force, please contact the airport public safety office at 289-0171, ext. 1221.
Kim Bridger is the marketing manager at CCIA. For more information, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org