Captain LaPonda J. Fitchpatrick (Retired), owner and senior consultant/instructor for LaPonda J. Fitchpatrick, Training and Consulting for the Real WorldTM, was responsible for ensuring the safety, security, and regulatory compliance of the global gateway known as LAX and its satellite airports for over 30 years, retiring as a commanding officer within the Los Angeles Airport Police Department (LAXPD). After 9-11, LaPonda conceived and implemented the Los Angeles Airport Police Homeland Security Section to ensure multi-agency law enforcement and public safety activities and response was properly coordinated to reduce LAX’s vulnerability to a terrorist event or catastrophic emergency. This included the development of the nation’s largest airport law enforcement bomb detection K-9 unit, expedited multi-agency intelligence sharing, and an on-site tactical response unit tailored to the aviation environment.
LaPonda is a nationally recognized aviation security and law enforcement consultant that has developed security systems, methods and procedures, and professional standards that are utilized by a myriad of local, state, federal, and international aviation security and law enforcement agencies that secure the global aviation environment. Understanding the importance of information sharing and training, she modernized and wrote the State of California mandated Aviation Security for Law Enforcement Officers training course as a consultant to the California Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission (POST) that certifies law enforcement officers. She created a training curriculum that addressed the multi-cultural and dynamic venue that a global system such as aviation presents with a concentration on terrorism and its global effect on aviation security. Post-9/11, taking this training curriculum nationwide, she has trained over 3500 police officers, TSA and other aviation security personnel, which included the entire law enforcement components for Atlanta-Hartsfield, Phoenix-Sky Harbor, Shreveport, and Jackson Evers Airport Police Departments. She created a variety of crisis emergency management and other aviation security-related courses. LaPonda also provides aviation security and public safety consulting services for Birdi & Associates, a systems engineering consulting and contracting firm based in Southern California.
Intrigued by the jihadist phenomenon and its ability to influence ordinary people to participate in extraordinary and out-of-character violent acts, LaPonda returned to the classroom as a student to further her education in the field of Sociology as it relates to globalization and the effect on aviation and related workplace safety and security. She had a concentration in diversity, religion, and other issues that affect a global society. She received her B.A. from UCLA. She continues to be a life-long learner. LaPonda is a member of the AAAE Transportation Security, Training, Diversity, and Operations, Safety, Planning, and Emergency Management committees, ASIS, and is a Senior Certified Professional of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-SCP). She received the National Black Police Association Outstanding African American Woman in Law Enforcement “Taking Charge of Change” Award in 2011, and the California National Guard Commendation, Post 911 Operation Safe Passage Training and Military Deployment to Airports in 2002.
An avid sports enthusiast, LaPonda coached the men’s basketball and co-ed softball teams for the Los Angeles Airport Police and enjoys long-distance cycling. LaPonda lives in Colorado with her husband Bernard Fitchpatrick, a retired Los Angeles Police Department sergeant. They have three daughters, one son-in-law, and one granddaughter.