Emergency Service

“Joint” Investigation At Boise Air Tower

When emergency medical helicopters were unable to contact the Boise air traffic control tower in the early morning hours of November 19, police and firefighters were sent to check on the welfare of the ATC operator.

Police reports obtained by the BOISEGUARDIAN indicate officers were met at the door by a man who soon began munching on a pizza. There may have been smoke, but there was no fire. He may also have been flying high, but never left the ground.

Once the officers entered the building the guy directed them to the elevator and opened what appeared to be a personal locker in a hallway in the opposite direction. He later joined the coppers in the elevator and announced loudly to his colleague as they arrived at the tower cab, “The cops are here.”

The series of reports all have the names of the two controllers blacked out, but each officer mentioned the aroma of marijuana when they were on the elevator and in the control cab atop the tower.

In the narrative it was apparent that one of the Federal Aviation employees was on duty and another joined him at 3 a.m.

The men were described as appearing to have “just woken up” and grinned at the officers who were trying to remind them about the importance of their air traffic control duties. The controllers kept telling the coppers that everything was “just fine,” downplaying the gravity of ignoring aircraft radio calls.

Officers reported they left the tower unescorted and could smell what they recognized as marijuana, but were unable to find it in the trash or other open areas. Since they obtained no evidence, no arrests were made.

CONCLUSION–couple of guys got the munchies after taking their “recreational medicine” and one may have either gone out for pizza or prepared one in the lower levels of the tower.

The FAA will conduct it’s own “joint investigation” and the public will no doubt never hear anything else about the “personnel matter.” Median annual pay for a Federal Air Traffic Controller is $123,000.

UPDATE 12/10/16–
FAA Spokesman Ian Gregor chided both the GUARDIAN and IDAHO STATESMAN in on-line comments saying had the news sites checked with the FAA they would have learned both controllers were drug tested and passed the tests. However, when the GUARDIAN asked for the time and date of the tests, Gregor refused comment, claiming the investigation was still in progress. (see his comments below)

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. It wasn’t all that long ago that the tower was closed in the early morning hours, if memory serves. Little if any traffic, and aircraft followed standard procedures for uncontrolled airfields. Although not a good thing, this situation at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning is far from “grave.”

  2. If the Guardian had contacted the FAA before running this story, we would have explained that we drug tested both controllers and both tests were negative. We are continuing to investigate this incident.

    — Ian Gregor, Public Affairs Manager, FAA Pacific Division

    EDITOR NOTE–Thank-you for the comment. Every report we had seen in the legacy media said the FAA would not comment. Also of prime importance is WHEN the drug test was conducted. PLEASE give us the results of your investigation when it is concluded.

    UPDATE: The GUARDIAN contacted Gregor of the FAA to learn WHEN the drug test was supposedly administered. He sent this response: “We normally do not comment at all during pending investigations. However, in this case we issued a brief statement. We are not going to comment further until the investigation is complete.”

  3. Perhaps the officers were just so used to claiming “the strong odor of marijuana” that they just could not help themselves.

  4. I agree with erico49’s comment.

    ISP will request a K-9 on a normal driver just because they are near the Idaho border entering from Oregon and made one erratic driving maneuver (no odor and no evidence of pot), but BPD says they smell weed in a public safety workspace and don’t do any follow-up?

    Sound more like a problem with BPD than with the mile-high club.

    EDITOR NOTE–We are gonna have to defend BPD on this one. The issue is pretty much an employee-employer matter. We are concerned about the efforts of the FAA to conceal the entire matter from the public. The tower is 100% federal property and staff. BPD was there only for welfare check. FAA refused to tell us WHEN the drug tests were administered after chiding us for not contacting them.

  5. The FAA is nonresponsive most of the time in my experience. I have emailed with questions in the past and have never received a reply. What are the rules for local police and federal buildings? I googled and got mostly cites to US Code. TLDR.

  6. Aggrieved Party
    Dec 13, 2016, 8:25 am

    Reagan’s other half may have influenced this outcome. Since Septemer 14, 1986 the official Federal mantra when it came to drugs was to be “Just Say NO!”. Sounds like not much has changed.

  7. Class Warfare
    Dec 13, 2016, 5:24 pm

    Watch an episode or two of COPS and you see that poor people, or non-whites, get brutally tackled to the ground, thoroughly searched, and endlessly interrogated when the coppers get a whiff of marijuana.
    I got fired from a police department when I pulled over a well off white guy in a suit, driving an expensive sports car, so drunk he could barely stand. He was being belligerent and threatening, so I pushed him away, which caused him to fall through a board fence.
    My Sargent showed up and apologized to the drunk and let him drive away.
    Being a former cop, when I get pulled over, i tell them I worked patrol, and the traffic stop turns into a bull session.
    Justice in America is a joke, unless you’re black, then it is a nightmare.

  8. Class warfare, if you really were a copper, at least spell “sargent” right, ie Sergeant. Thanks in advance.

  9. Class Warfare
    Dec 16, 2016, 4:28 pm

    Sal Nez – If a miss-spelled word renders content inaccurate, then the corporate media is definitely the main source of “fake news”.

  10. I’m not saying inaccurate, I’m saying BS!

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