LOS ANGELES – The recent attacks in Brussels reinforce the vulnerabilities at airports and their appeal to those seeking to do harm and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) supports efforts by state and local airport law enforcement officers to fortify security at our nation’s airports.
What makes airports different? Airplanes. What is supposed to be the last barrier to keeping threats from ready planes? The TSA security checkpoint. Therefore, it is imperative that a local law enforcement officer presence be close to the screening area. Having a law enforcement officer located within 300 feet of the TSA screening checkpoint, as well as having a law enforcement officer canine team deployed at each terminal of major airports, will help ensure the safety of the traveling public.
The TSA screening area is a highly vulnerable location for all airports and the checkpoint is designed to prevent threats from reaching active airplanes. Instead of having a law enforcement officer stationed at a fixed position at the screening checkpoint, officers should be within 300 feet of the area. This flexibility allows the officer to roam and monitor the checkpoint, while also ensuring an officer is close enough to respond to an issue at the screening area.
Also, law enforcement canine detection teams provide a layer of protection and deterrence against those seeking to carry or bring explosive materials into airports. At the largest airport in the country, having a police canine team present in each terminal will help thwart those seeking to cause harm, as they did in Brussels.
“These reasonable recommendations should be implemented by Congress to ensure the safety of travelers, airport employees and our skies,” said Captain John F. Barton Jr., UAL-MEC C57 Chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association. “Airports and airplanes continue to be a high priority target for terrorists and criminals and these sensible proposals will help prevent such action.”