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Faces of Homeland Security: Crystal and Karissa Matthews

Crystal and Karissa Matthews, TSA

Transportation Security Officers, TSA
Tallahassee, Fla.

Crystal Matthews applied to be a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) in 2007. Following in her mother’s footsteps, her daughter, Karissa applied for the same position one year later. Since joining the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), mother and daughter Crystal and Karissa have exemplified TSA’s mission to protect the traveling public at Tallahassee Regional Airport in Florida.

In March 2011, Karissa discovered 11 bullets wrapped in aluminum foil hidden under the inserts of a pair of tennis shoes at a security checkpoint. Upon further inspection, a pistol barrel, a recoil spring and spring guide, along with $13,800 were discovered in the passenger’s luggage. Not long after in July, Karissa discovered a loaded pistol, with seven rounds of ammunition and two knives at the checkpoint. Her vigilance helped keep travelers safe, earning her a call from TSA Administrator John Pistole to commend her work.

In August, Karissa’s mother, Crystal Matthews spotted an image on the security checkpoint x-ray machine which appeared to be a weapon inside a passenger’s bag. This led to the discovery of a loaded revolver with four rounds of ammunition.

TSOs operate screening equipment and perform searches to identify dangerous objects in baggage, cargo and on passengers and prevent those objects from being transported onto aircraft. TSOs also control terminal entry and exit points.

TSA employs risk-based, intelligence-driven operations to prevent terrorist attacks and to reduce the vulnerability of the nation’s transportation system to terrorism. TSA’s goal at all times is to maximize transportation security to stay ahead of the evolving terrorist threat while protecting passengers’ privacy and facilitating the flow of legitimate commerce.

Last Published Date: July 12, 2012
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