Daytona Beach police chief stopped at OIA security with gun in bag

TSA finds handgun in Chief Mike Chitwood's carry-on

Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Daytona Beach police chief was escorted from Orlando International Airport last week after he was stopped at a security checkpoint with a gun in his carry-on bag, according to Orlando police.

Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood was departing OIA just before 8 p.m. on Aug. 21 when he was stopped while going through the Transportation Security Administration's checkpoint, OPD said.

A TSA screener noticed a 2-inch small ankle gun inside Chitwood's carry-on luggage and notified OPD.

Chitwood can travel armed after completion of the TSA's Law Enforcement Officer-Fly Armed Program, police said.

"For the sake of time, Chief Chitwood was escorted from the checkpoint to safely secure his weapon before he was allowed to board his flight," police said in a release.

No further action was required, according to police.

Chitwood told Local 6 on Wednesday that he left working an anti-crime operation and changed in the locker room to save time so he could catch his flight.

"Shoes come out, everything comes out, I'm putting my stuff on and I see two OPD officers and a TSA officer standing there and they said 'Chief, you have a gun in your bag' and I'm like 'I don't have a gun in my bag,'" Chitwood said. "And that quick,  I realized I got a gun in my bag."

Chitwood said he's authorized to carry the gun.

"I didn't ask for any favors and OPD didn't give me any favors," Chitwood said. "They said this is what the policy is and this is how we do these things."

Chitwood said it's a mistake he never should have made.

"I can't say sorry enough for being stupid and embarrassing our organization and mostly, embarrassing myself," he said.

Chitwood said he's already contacted the city manager about the incident and now they're waiting on TSA to finish up their investigation.

TSA released a statement on Wednesday, saying, "Due to privacy laws, TSA may not and does not confirm the names of individuals involved in security incidents. As a matter of policy, anyone who brings a firearm to a federal checkpoint faces possible civil penalties regardless of whether and independent of whether they face criminal penalties."

TSA said it partners with OPD whenever security stops a gun at a checkpoint.