GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- The Grand Junction Regional Airport is expecting a big increase in passengers this year. By adding new flights and more destinations that means their security team has to be at the top of their game.
Airport officials say enplanements are up 23% and capacity is up 13%.
Cheyanna Cruz is one of the youngest TSA officers at the Grand Junction airport. She started just over a year and a half ago.
"I really wanted a job with purpose, I wanted to help people and I really like this job. I feel like I’m doing something important every day,” said Cruz.
She walked us through the security checkpoint process. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives. The usual emptying of your belongings into gray trays and sliding them through the x-ray, while you wait to go through the metal detector.
She loves it and finding prohibited items is a daily occurrence.
"We find everything, you think of it we found it…five cases last year of people bringing firearms and then one this year so far and it was loaded on the checkpoint,” said Cruz.
Knives are the number one item they find. They have a bucket full of them. The Western Slope sees a lot of hunters so it can get pretty wild.
"You know we have a lot of hunters here so we find a lot of cool stuff here like horns, antlers, we had a mountain lion skin come through once,” said Cruz.
If you try to sneak anything past them you expect a trip to the police station. They will always find it using their x-ray machines, drug swapping station, and their natural attention to detail.
"TSA they do give out fines and they can be upwards of $13,000," said Cruz.
Cheyanna also works behind the scenes, searching checked bags before they get loaded onto planes. She scans every bag that enters that airport. If something looks suspicious she will open it and check to make sure everything is safe.
“There’s a lot of great people in Grand Junction and I feel like I’m helping them, I feel like I’m protecting them and I really enjoy that,” said Cruz.
So if you want to take a walk in their shoes and feel up to the challenge, TSA is hiring.
"You go away for two weeks to a special school and then when you go back you do on the job training,” said Cruz.
Check out their openings on the link below or click on the link to the right of this page https://www.tsa.gov/about/jobs-at-tsa
Also, if you have any questions about what you can and cannot bring through security, there’s a list online. You can tweet the officers directly on Twitter. Just add @AskTSA. They will respond almost immediately so you will have no doubts when you start your trip.