According to a recent study, ten U.S. passenger airlines collectively reported a pre-tax profit of approximately $12 billion in the first half of 2016, up $700 million when compared to the same time last year. While the American Alliance of Airport Police Officers (AAAPO) is glad to hear that air travel is on the rise, and that airlines and airports are seeing more business, we have to wonder why airport security is still an issue that remains on the back burner.
With increasing numbers of travelers comes increased risk of security incidents. To ensure that the traveling public is kept safe, we need to enact reasonable security measures and make sure that airport police have all the tools we need to do our jobs efficiently and effectively. Given that more passengers are traveling through our airports, safety and security must be a priority.
Requiring an airport police officer to be within 300 feet of the TSA screening area, providing police real-time access to all closed circuit camera systems at airports and ensuring airport land and water perimeters are fortified by police patrols, should be at the forefront of the minds of airlines and airports.
“The reason we keep beating the drum on these security issues is because our airports are vulnerable—there’s no doubt there,” said Marshall McClain, President of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association, and co-founder of the AAAPO. “Profits are going up for airlines and airports so there is not a lack of money to do the things we are talking about here, which by the way, are nominal in cost. Cosmetic enhancements and modernization efforts are important but public safety has to be the priority above all else. We go to work every day with one goal—protecting the public—but when airport security is not the main priority of airport leaders, how can we be expected to do our jobs successfully?”
“What we are proposing are basic, common sense things that will make our airports safer. Plain and simple. The resources are there but I don’t know why people keep turning a blind eye to these concerns. Airports continue to be targets for attacks so we need to fortify security so that we can better protect travelers, airport employees and our officers,” said Paul Nunziato, President of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, and co-founder of the AAAPO.