View Full Version : 7/4/03 - ISP

2005-04-20, 02:57 PM
The Fourth of July landed on a Friday this year. Myself and good friend and fellow aviation enthusiast Mario Craig decided to go take some photographs at local airports, as we rarely get a day off on a weekday. Our first stop was Howard Beach to watch the Concorde depart form JFK on Runway 31L. Then Mario, a Long Island resident, finally took me to see the L.I. airports. The first would be Islip's MacArthur Airport.

We pulled up close to the fence in a parking lot off of Taxiway Alpha at the end of Runway 24. As my quote from the September issue of Airline Review on this incident attests, "We had been standing there no more than five minutes when we were approached by a police officer, which quickly grew to half a dozen...then the detectives showed up. We were escorted un-handcuffed to the police office inside the terminal and questioned for over three hours."

I was asked multiple times about my "relationship" with Mario. Of all the questions the detective asked, he went back to this one at least five times, telling me that if I am involved with him sexually, I had better tell him now, so I don't get in trouble if they find out "the truth" later on when the FBI arrives. Even though I'm straight, I don't see where the relevance of sexual orientation comes in, and why it would need to come up so often. This is police work?

I was also asked why I liked planes, as though I was crazy. When I was asked what I had planned that evening, they replied to my answer with "Yeah, that's what you were going to do," implying that I wouldn't be going home that night, and be sleeping in a jail cell. At one point I was left alone in the room for 45 minutes, and I was so shocked that this petty incident had gone this far, I feared what else was to come. I wondered if they would say "Phil, what's your favorite plane, because that's what you'll be taking to Guantanamo."

After over three hours of grilling, Mario and I were released, but not without some of our materials being confiscated (to be returned a week later), and having personal literature read to themselves, and to be asked irrelevant questions about that personal material that apparently entertained them.

I was detained against my will without being read my rights and without any crime, or suspicion of a crime, being noted or present. I left smiling ignorantly, feeling like a free man, feeling I averted jail even though I hadn't broken a law.

USAF Pilot 07
2005-04-20, 06:25 PM
Phil, I know you and I are both for increased security and increased scrutiny by police.

To the normal person, going to an airport, with a huge camera lens, and taking pictures of planes for hours is viewed as weird and suspicious. I commend people who call the police to report this activity.
It might very well be an alert citizen who alerts police about someone doing something suspicious, or what is seen as "not normal", and thwarts the next terrorist attack.

Personally, if someone doesn't see things like this, or very similar to this, I believe they have no grasp of reality, live in their own little idealistic world, and forget that 2 planes hit the World Trade Center, 1 the Pentagon and 1 a field in PA, killing thousands of people in the worst terrorist attack on American soil.

Getting back to the story, it's how the police often handle these situations which make these stories so disheartening, and which just creates greater resentment towards law enforcement, by law-abiding aviation enthusiasts.
Understandably the police need to be in control of the situation, need to treat you as a POTENTIAL terrorist upon arriving at the scene, but some of the actions and comments made are not only uncalled for, but unprofessional.

It's all about education and open-mindedness. I see the same thing eveyrday with Security Forces in the Air Force. If they were better educated on certain things, and more open minded, relations could be a lot better and both parties could have a much better understanding and actually look out for each other...

Something needs to be done to educate local police on aviation enthusiasts and how our hobby isn't terrorism. The question is what, and how?

2005-05-11, 06:18 PM
Phil, did you ever write a letter to the police etc about this? Or is that someone else I'm thinking about.

2005-05-11, 07:02 PM
No, I took no action.

2005-05-14, 09:51 AM
This is why I stay stand your ground. I would never let any law enforcement officer detain me or touch my equipment. Let them them arrest me. I am breaking no laws and will not be treated like someone who is.


2005-06-03, 06:12 PM
First off, Phil, its COncorde, not, 'the Concorde'.

And of course, we all know how the 9-11 terrorists were all gay, so that is why you had to fess up any gay ways, Phil

As USAF pilot noted above, I TOO am all for security, but not the lack of professionalism and waste, absolute waste of police funds that the SCPD did.

I actually wrote to..wait, I'll check the letters right now...

Assemblyman Barraga, Legislator Bishop, Commisioner Gallagher of SCPD, Senator Clinton (who called me regarding the matter, in my office),Senator Johnson, Schumer, the county DA and Sweeney....

So I wrote to them and made them well aware, not that I was stopped, but of the lack of professionalism and waste of county dollars as 14 personel decided to use, what I am sure is, holiday and overtime pay, to exert their 'authority'.

I wrote an editorial to Newsday that ran, it was about how, when I got engaged, I flew ISP-PVD, for the day. And out of ISP, they would not allow me on the flight with a corkscrew I had for a bottle of wine.

But on the return flight PVD-ISP, a mere 10 hours later that day, I got on the plane with a cheapy corkscrew I bought in Providence and went right through security, not realizing this until I got home. SO Newsday ran the editorial.

Again, I know we need strong and CONSISTENT security. And that is what we should continue to stress if future issues arise with the law.

And for the record, not all police officers are unprofessional.
But we pay their salaries and if you are a law abiding citizen, keep your lawyer's number on cell phone. And call on him/her, right there, in front of the officer, if you feel your liberties are being trampled on.

2006-09-08, 09:21 PM
A corkscrew isn't a prohibited item.

By the way the "I pay your salary" is so old and really doesn't work. My answer is "well, I'm in a 43% tax bracket so actually I pay back about 1/2 of my own salary. Since you are paying half of my salary I'll give you what you pay for... a half a$$ed job"