Indianapolis airport cop suspended for skirting security checkpoint

INDIANAPOLIS - A high-ranking Indianapolis airport police officer was suspended without pay this month after trying to skirt security checkpoints, according to airport officials.

Angela Lee, a lieutenant with the Indianapolis International Airport Police Department, was attempting to board a Southwest Airlines flight on Jan. 4 to meet her family for a cruise.

Rather than going through the TSA checkpoint, though, Lee allegedly used her airport credentials to skirt security – though she was caught by TSA agents and told to turn around.

Lee then allegedly found another way around the checkpoint and managed to board the Southwest Airlines flight.

At that point, TSA agents realized the breach and Lee was escorted off the plane, questioned and then disciplined.

"We had a police officer that used incredibly bad judgment in bypassing security so that the officer wouldn't miss a flight that was actually pretty important to the officer, because it was designed for her to hook up with her mother and sister for a cruise," said airport Executive Director Robert Duncan. "Unfortunately she used incredibly bad judgment in trying to expedite the flight, and because of our layered security, she got caught and there was a consequence."

Duncan said the case shows that the security system at the airport works, and that there's no double standard.

Lee was suspended for two weeks without pay and had her security badge turned off – standard procedure, Duncan said, whether the offender is an airport or federal employee.

No police report was filed in the incident. The TSA said it chose not to impose any additional penalties on Lee since it was satisfied with the airport's punishment. The TSA also said it's up to airport police to determine when someone who violates security is arrested, disciplined or simply questioned.

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