LOS ANGELES, CA – As one of the top airports in the world, LAX is undergoing a series of renovation and modernization efforts to continue to draw the record-breaking number of passengers through its terminals. While these changes are important and necessary for travelers to have a positive experience, there has been a neglect in providing basic, functioning equipment for Airport Police.
From the $5-billion Landside Access Modernization Program, which will include an automated people mover to connect the central terminal to a new car rental lot, additional airport parking and Metro transit; to the $20 million project to update lighting and media monitors inside the terminal; to the $1.9 billion project to provide 18 new gates to the international terminal, LAX is undertaking major development projects that are much needed. However, it is critical that comparable attention be paid to safety and security resources at the airport.
Airport Police officers have long been asked to carry out our duties with subpar, second-rate and sometimes dangerously outdated equipment. Our vehicle fleet is in a state of disrepair with many vehicles overdue for salvage. The police station is over 50 years old and falling apart. Much of our gear is obsolete and nonfunctioning. These are not items we think we need-these items are critical to our ability to do our jobs. Furthermore, the investment required to fix these issues do not require the billions of dollars being spent on the modernization efforts, but rather, a minimal investment to bring our resources up to par with the quality of the terminals we patrol.
Even more troubling, according to a recently published article, the Los Angeles City Controller found that LAWA ignored competitive bidding policies when awarding construction contracts for the modernization efforts. The airport allowed some contracts to be bid on by one or two companies when City policy calls for three bidders. What our officers are asking for pales in comparison to the millions wasted on improperly procured contracts.
“Our officers should not have to beg for basic necessities like working cars and equipment to do our jobs when billions are being spent on the upgrading and beautification of LAX,” said Marshall McClain, President of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers’ Association. “Our request is modest compared to the amount spent on LAX’s facelift. LAAPOA is sure the traveling public and airport employees would prioritize traveling and working in a safe environment over cosmetics and aesthetics. We just want to ensure we have the essential resources to keep the traveling public, airport employees and our officers safe.”
Will you help protect us?