Deirdre Walker, a former policewoman and assistant police chief with twenty-four years of experience wrote an excellent essay of her experience with airport security screening.: Do I have the right to refuse this search?
Among her astute observations:
What happened to me in Albany was not the promised â€œpat-down.â€ It was a full search conducted in full public view. It was also one of the most flawed searches I have ever witnessed.
Perhaps in a nod to decorum, [the screener] did not check my crotch, my armpits or either breast area.
These three areas on a woman, and the crotch area of men, offer the greatest opportunity to seclude weapons and contraband. Bad guys and girls rely on the type of reluctance displayed by this screener to get weapons and drugs past the authorities.
Had I actually intended to move contraband past the screening point, my best strategy would have been to refuse secondary screening [get the ‘pat-down’ instead of other types of screening].
I am also forced to conclude that the purpose of the â€œpat-downâ€ was not to actually interdict contraband. In my case, I believe I was subjected to a haphazard response in order to effectively punish me for refusing secondary screening and to encourage a different decision in the future.