NEW YORK – Airport perimeters continue to be vulnerable access points at our nation’s airports and the American Alliance of Airport Police Officers (AAAPO) repeats its previous calls for tougher perimeter security to include mobile patrols by airport police officers, in addition to security measures already in place.
According to a recent AP investigation, at airports across the country a perimeter breach takes place on average every 10 days. While technology solutions including cameras and sensors are helpful, AAAPO believes the best way to fortify the perimeter involves a combination of technology and regular airport police officer patrols of the perimeter. For example, the Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS) used at JFK Airport is a $100 million system aimed at preventing individuals from accessing the tarmac. While this would seem to be an effective measure, it has shown glaring faults—false alarms and failures to detect intruders scaling the fence have happened repeatedly.
Thus, it is important that a police officer maintain a presence that is visible at all times in order to discourage would be trespassers, and possibly terrorists, from scaling perimeter fences and gaining access to aircraft. With airports still remaining high value terrorist targets, it is more important now, than ever, that airports take accountability and require that police patrols become routine. Police patrols of airport perimeter fences will not only help deter criminals from attempting to gain access to the airport, but could potentially stop a threat situation as it arises.
“Perimeter intrusions are all too common, and can be extremely dangerous if someone with ill-intent were to actually reach an airplane,” said Marshall McClain, President of the Los Angeles Peace Officers Association, and co-founder of the AAAPO. “The most effective way to prevent these breaches is using security systems that we already have in place, but to couple them with regular, and highly visible, police patrols.”
“All it takes is one terrorist to gain access to an airplane by jumping the fence for a catastrophe to happen. We can use the security fence system we have in place, but using it alone has allowed for repeated perimeter penetration. We need officers to be out there patrolling. It’s an important layer of security for an important and undermanned access way” said Paul Nunziato, President of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, and co-founder of the AAAPO.