Sgt. Jacques Brunelle, RCMP (Ret)
Director and Founder
International Airport Watch Association
All volunteers currently in the IAWA group of programs have had detailed background checks at the local and/or federal levels.
Volunteer member of larger airport watch groups, such as those located at the Toronto-Pearson International Airport and the Chicago-O’Hare International Airport, have dedicated in excess of 10,000 extra hours of security outside the perimeter fencing resulting in various forms of calls made to authorities to take action.
Typical volunteers are often retirees from various aviation-related fields, university students, pilots, Fortune 500 employees in addition to current and retired members of the police and military.
The following criteria is used when considering membership in the Airport Watch:
The International Airport Watch Association (IAWA) has it roots dating to 1999 where the initial airport watch (AW) program was formed at the Ottawa International Airport in Canada’s capital.
Subsequent to the creation of several additional AW groups, members of several police agencies identified a need for a support group, and the IAWA was created. They saw the need to provide a central source of expertise in airport crime prevention methods and to coordinate further growth of the concept.
There are currently twelve chapters within the program consisting of community volunteers who carefully follow the common principal of “Observe, Record and Report”. For the most part each program is financially self supporting, but it is common practice for airport administrations to participate by providing monthly meeting areas etc. This relationship is accepted as a "win win" arrangement for both parties. The concept is very similar to neighborhood watch types of programs, but for critical infrastructure facilities and borders.
Since 2010, the IAWA board members have provided or arranged for training with local law enforcement officials. Topics include behavioural analysis, active shooter, illegal use of hand-held laser pointers, manned and unmanned aircraft identifying traits, Emotional Disturbed Individuals (EDI) and even MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defence) component recognition.
The IAWA board members are composed of current and former law enforcement officers / military, experienced in patrol, airport investigation, crime prevention, customs, perimeter protection, military facilities, management, intelligence and liaison. This, combined with a large pool of skilled aircraft enthusiasts that work closely with airport authorities and stakeholders, is an ideal source of information contributing to safer airports and less attractive to would-be criminals.