A former Minden man, drawing on 37 years in federal law enforcement, has been named Federal Security Director of the Year.
Johnny Eason, a 1972 Minden High School graduate, is the Federal Security Director for the state of Louisiana, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
"I was totally shocked over it (award)," Eason said. "For us to get this award was huge. It's a peer-thing, and I was totally surprised when they told me I had gotten it."
Receiving the award meant Eason had to travel to Washington D.C. from New Orleans where he has built a crew of people he can trust.
"I have a lot of good people who worked with me before," he said. "They came to New Orleans from all over the country. They were the ones who should've gotten the award. It's a big deal and it was a nice deal. I'm humbled by it."
As FSD, Eason is responsible for fulfilling the mission of protecting the nation's transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.
Eason's current area of responsibilities encompass the direct authority and coordination of TSA security and regulatory oversight for all aviation, rail, cargo, passenger and baggage screening operations within Louisiana. This includes all seven commercial airports (New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Alexandria, Monroe, Lafayette, and Lake Charles); and 100+ general aviation airports.
During his years of Federal Law Enforcement, Eason has served in two federal agencies and the United States Marine Corps (USMC). While serving in the USMC, he was selected as Team Leader for the USMC's first Special Weapons and Tactics team (SWAT). Eason attained the rank of Captain, where he finished his career as the Commanding Officer for the USMC Military Police Academy located at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas.
"I was in law enforcement in the Marine Corps, so it was a natural transition for me to stay in law enforcement," he said. "I've stayed with the Feds the whole time. I'm a one-trick pony."
Over the years, especially since the September 11 attacks, law enforcement has changed a great deal, he said.
"A huge change with our end has been intelligence sharing," he said. "Louisiana has a law enforcement infusion center, and everybody's connected to it – state, locals, Feds."
Eason said the center sends out Amber Alerts, BOLOs (Be On the Look Out) and all types of information to other agencies.
"On the Federal side, we have JTTF – Joint Terrorism Task Force," he said. "I sit on the executive council, but I have guys who are on that. It's all federal agencies. That's something up until 9/11 we never had. That's huge."
Eason receives an intelligence briefing every morning.
"A lot of that information comes from a lot of different agencies," he said.
In 1990, while serving as a Drug Interdiction Agent, he wrote and presented to headquarters officials of the Drug Enforcement Administration, a Marijuana Eradication and Intelligence Concept. Parts of this concept are still being utilized by smaller, local law enforcement agencies in the Southwest U.S.
Eason is a graduate of Louisiana Tech University. In addition, he is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy and currently serves on the Joint Terrorism Task Force Executive Council.
Eason is a native Louisianan, born in Opelousas, and reared in Minden. He has been married for 36 years to his wife, Sherry.
"I was gone for 20 years, but Minden is my hometown, and I try to get back during the Minden Charity Classic tournament every year," Eason said. "I enjoy coming back to the area, and I would be happy to speak to community or civic groups. I think it's important to let people know what we do and how we are keeping them safe. It's what we do."