Since 1973 the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office has been the primary law enforcement presence at General Mitchell International Airport (GMIA). The Airport Division operates seven-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day.
The Sheriff's Office responsibilities include, but are not limited to, safety and security of the airport complex. The complex, over 2,300 acres, consists of a main terminal building, the international arrivals building, Amtrak station, numerous private businesses, rental car agencies, private airplane hangars, the MKE Business Park and the 128th Air Refueling Wing. GMIA has an expanded parking structure with over 14,000 parking slots as well as five remote and surface lots. The Sheriff's Office also patrols the city streets surrounding the airport, performing law enforcement functions and meeting the needs of the community.
Sheriff's Office staff work in concert with personnel from other agencies and businesses at GMIA: Airport Operations, the Transportation Security Administration, the Milwaukee County Fire Department, airlines, independent businesses and the public.
Explosives Detection K-9 Team
The Federal Aviation Administration Explosives Detection K-9 Teams Program started with 40 canine teams at 20 airports across the county in 1973. Today, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) program includes 63 airports and over 250 K-9 teams.
In January of 1986, the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office signed a cooperative agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration and established their first explosives detection K-9 team. Currently, four federally certified explosives detection K-9 teams are located at the General Mitchell International Airport on behalf of the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office and the TSA. The explosives detection K-9 teams are used to deter and detect the introduction of explosive devices into the transportation system at the General Mitchell International Airport. The explosives detection K-9 teams are available seven-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day.
Since 2000, the use of explosives detection K-9 teams has increased dramatically. In the year 2000, only 85% of the airlines providing services at the General Mitchell International Airport used the K-9 teams compared to 100% during 2013 and 2014. In addition to the airlines, several other businesses providing services at the General Mitchell International Airport use the Transportation Security Administration Explosives Detection K-9 teams. General Mitchell International Airport Operations and Administration, Traveler's Aid, the Security Checkpoints, the MKE Business Park, the Milwaukee County Airport Fire Department, Visitor's Information, Host International, Paradies Shops, Mitchell Café, Amtrak Station and Air Cargo carriers also use the Explosives Detection K-9 teams.
The Explosives Detection K-9 teams have provided Mutual Aid to local, state and federal agencies throughout Wisconsin. K-9 demonstrations are offered and may be requested through the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office – Airport Bureau Captain or through the Sheriff's Office Community Relations Manager. Demonstrations include a general history of the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office K-9 program, the Transportation Security Administration's mission, K-9 detection training and K-9 certification.
In May of 2003, Explosives Detection K-9 Grim was the first police K-9 to participate in the local Law Enforcement Torch Run.