TSA has been wasting valuable resources. AAAPO supports curtailing Behavior Detection Officer (BDO) and Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) programs in the administration’s FY 2018 budget and hopes that future budgets will continue to cut TSA programs that do not work. Since their inception, these programs have impeded the ability of airport police to focus on our core mission by diverting our attention to responding to wholly unfounded BDO claims and VIPR’s “security theater.”
TSA has taken its eye off the ball. By adding non-screening functions like BDO and VIPR, the TSA has missed dangerous and prohibited items from entering the sterile area. These proposed cuts will help TSA refocus on its core mission — screening passengers and luggage. The administration’s proposal to eliminate BDO and reassign those personnel back to frontline airport security operations, as well as the proposal to reduce the VIPR program, will get TSA back on track.
Previous GAO testimony before Congress has criticized the BDO program and TSA for continuing to fund “activities that have not been determined to be effective.” Most importantly, our own officers can attest to the fact that the BDO program disrupts and dilutes airport policing assets because law enforcement officers are called away from legitimate policing functions in order to respond to BDO calls. These calls have proven to be 100% ineffective — airport police have never found demonstrable leads from BDOs.
“We have long called for ending the frivolous BDO and VIPR programs, and we are glad to see the president taking action,” said Marshall McClain, president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association and co-founder of AAAPO. “However, we would encourage the administration to fund successful and proven security programs like TSA grants to state and local jurisdictions, which bolster safety at our nation’s airports.”
“It’s about time someone finally cut BDO and VIPR funding,” said Paul Nunziato, president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association and co-founder of AAAPO. “TSA has gotten away from its mission and devolved into wasteful and extraneous programs. Efforts to refocus TSA back to its primary job of screening will help speed checkpoint wait lines, ensure more efficient use of TSA resources and personnel, and make airports safer.”