AlumnusJustin Bradley is a K-9 officer for the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, the third busiest hub in the country.
As a member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Police, Officer Bradley (’10) is one of many K9 teams that patrol the international airport in search of explosives. He is also part of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team whose purpose is to render safe possible dangerous devices. Because of the concentration of expertise at the facility, teams are often tapped by surrounding agencies to assist at area events, and Bradley has helped in mutual aid requests by surrounding agencies.
The Dallas/Fort Worth Airport covers a sprawling tract in Dallas and Tarrant counties, which lies within the cities of Euless, Grapevine, Coppell and Irving. The airport includes five terminals, each spanning about 750,000 square feet, dozens of warehouses, three hotels, a golf course, a road and rail system, and undeveloped land. It is patrolled by a force of 200, which is expected to increase with future expansion at the airport in the works.
“I love it,” said Bradley. “It’s something new every day, and you don’t see the same people every day. There are very few things to make you bored.”
Bradley said although being an airport police officer is very different from being a city cop, there many similarities to the job. “A lot of policing is customer service,” he said.
With so many people passing through the airport each day, communication is a key skill, especially when dealing with international visitors from all over the world. Bradley keeps Google Translate at the ready to assist passengers with simple questions.
Airport officers also patrol the terminals as well as the surrounding property, which is home to many major distributors, such as Amazon, Fed-Ex and UPS. Inside the terminal, officers patrol on foot, on Segways, and on bicycles to provide the greatest visibility. On the larger property, patrol cars are used. The airport police also collaborate with other law enforcement on site, such as Customs and Border Protection, Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police, and local police departments. Some of the common crime they respond to are intoxication, petty theft, warrants, and traffic.
Bradley joined the K9 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit in May, and soon after, underwent several rigorous weeks of training at the Lackland Air Force Base with his partner, a Labrador Retriever from Germany. As a K9 officer, Bradley responds to unattended bags, which happens several times a day at the airport facilities.
The Airport Police K9 unit is only one of many working dogs at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, which also includes Customs and Border Protection canines used to sniff out illegally transported food items, Drug Enforcement Administration dog that detect drugs and drug-tainted money, and Airport therapy dogs that comfort passengers.
Bradley said his time at Sam Houston State University helped him prepare for his career through the diversity of its students and in understanding the development of different police agencies and the use of statistics to drive policy. He also suggests that students do not give up on their dream, “It may take you more than once to get where you want to be.”
“Know why you want to work some place and be confident in your abilities,” said Bradley. “Come into the field with an open mind. School is good, but it doesn’t teach you how it really works. Keep your nose clean, and be determined.”