Ted Pawloski has spent his entire career, first in the U.S. Army and now in the Tampa International Airport Police Department, training for every possible scenario. He says now his goal is to make sure that others understand the importance of training and being prepared for any emergency.
Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Pawloski began his law enforcement career in the U.S. Army. During his 21 years in the military he served all over the world including combat tours in Haiti and Afghanistan.
He took up surfing and photography along the way and joined a football team while stationed at Fort Drum, in upstate New York. Pawloski played semi-pro football for nine years with the Watertown Red and Black, America’s Oldest Semi-Pro Football team.
“I ended my military career by spending the last nine years in upstate New York and it seemed like it snowed constantly between October and May,” said Pawloski. “I never wanted to shovel snow again. I needed to be in a warmer climate.”
Pawloski first joined the Tampa International Airport Police Department in 2006, and stayed for two years. Then he got a call from the State Department asking him to accept a job training soldiers, military police and Special Forces in the African country of Liberia. Pawloski and 54 others spent the next year overseas.
“It was a great experience, and I’m glad I went. The country was destroyed, and we were helping to put it back together by training the people who live there,” said Pawloski. “By the end of the year we had trained over 2,000 soldiers.”
When his contract was completed, he returned to Florida and his job with the Airport Police Department.
“I like dealing with the people and I’ve had opportunities to do many things here. The passengers are great and you meet new people every day,” said Pawloski.
Pawloski says that since his return, he has been committed to doing his part to make the police department he loves even better.
“I’d like to see us grow some more – have more time for training and full time trainers. You never know when something is going to happen and I believe that everyone should be prepared. Things change every day and we need to be ready,” said Pawloski.
Pawloski’s latest project has been to develop Active Shooter Training and share it with as many of the employees and tenants as possible at Tampa International Airport.
He developed the training after witnessing a workplace violence event while in the military. Other high profile shootings throughout the country inspired him to create the curriculum for civilians.
Pawloski is also involved with the honor guard, bike patrol, and high liability training for the department, but says that his Active Shooter Training Program has been unlike any other previous accomplishment.
“The response has been so positive. People go through the Active Shooter Training and they ask if we will go to their kid’s school or spouse’s workplace and talk to them. They want to share it with their family and friends,” said Pawloski. "I want to continue to find topics for training that people can use in their daily lives. It is important to be prepared and someday it just might save their life.”
The Airport Police Department has Active Shooter Training classes available to attend through the end of August. The one hour classes are held in the Aviation Authority board room and attendees can sign up by calling 813-870-7855.