With air travel expected to reach a record 45.2 million passengers between December 16 and January 5, after what is anticipated to be the busiest year ever for air travel in the United States, the American Alliance of Airport Police Officers (AAAPO) urges travelers to demand enhanced security protocols at American airports, particularly in light of the current heightened threats in the geopolitical climate.
Airports are continually busy hubs for both passenger travel and for the movement of goods. The targeting of public places around the globe by terrorists and those seeking to cause harm requires us to continually reevaluate security at airports since they are one of the most high-profile and sought-after targets for attacks. The traveling public should demand that airports bolster security.
As AAAPO has repeatedly noted, the single-most comprehensive and practical way to increase security at our nation’s airports is to have an armed law enforcement officer stationed within 300 feet of the TSA screening area to fortify the TSA checkpoint — the most vulnerable and busiest chokepoint in airports — and detect and stop threats from reaching airplanes.
AAAPO remains hopeful that the newly nominated secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, retired General John Kelly, will focus his attention on effective and commonsense airport security issues and work to ensure that American airports are the safest in the world.
Additional security measures that can be taken to strengthen safety include ensuring airport police have real-time access to all closed-circuit security camera systems (currently, most major airports have a fractured camera system in which vendors, tenants, TSA and others can deny access to airport law enforcement) and screening all airport employees, including the TSA’s, which will help prevent an insider threat or criminal activity by employees.
“With all that is going on in the world right now, and knowing that airports continue to be a top objective for terrorists, we must close the security gaps that exist at our nation’s major airports,” says Marshall McClain, co-founder of AAAPO and president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association. “Given the volume of passengers and cargo that come through airports, they are similar to small cities and require thorough and thoughtful security protocols. The recommendations from AAAPO help close security loopholes and fortify our airports. In the interest of public safety, these proposals cannot and should not be ignored any longer, especially during this busier-than-ever holiday travel season.”