LOS ANGELES — Today, LAWA’s CEO Deborah Flint announced that she will be leaving her position with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) in March 2020. CEO Flint took the reins of LAWA at a time when several areas of the airports were neglected and when, in fact, Ontario Airport seceded from the organization. LAX had experienced a shooting that took the life of a TSA agent and injured others in November 2013 — and while LAXPD was lauded for its effective response, LAWA leadership was widely criticized for not having a sound emergency response plan, which unnecessarily placed many in additional danger, stranded passengers and wreaked havoc on air traffic throughout the U.S. and world. Spending on expansion at LAX was rampant, but there was not a clearly articulated plan on how changes would benefit the airport and the citizens who live near it.
CEO Flint took over at time when the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association (LAAPOA) did not have confidence in LAWA’s leadership as it related to policing and security. Flint immediately went to work to focus on LAAPOA’s top priorities, including updating vehicles and equipment, breaking ground on a new police station and undoing the wrongs of years of neglect and outright disdain for policing at LAXPD. Most importantly, she laid the groundwork for future LAXPD growth and has shown her respect for LAAPOA and LAXPD officers as a whole by recently appointing a new chief of police, Cecil W. Rhambo Jr., who is reflective of the force he now commands.
LAAPOA is truly disappointed that CEO Flint is leaving LAWA at this critical time in policing history at LAX and VNY, as she has ushered in a renewed focus on ensuring that the airport’s expansion is interwoven with safety and that Van Nuys receives its due attention by representing LAWA in its entirety. By setting “the gold standard” bar, she has established a level for her successor to continue to advance the foundations she has set for policing at LAX. It is important that the progress be maintained and continued under new leadership.
“CEO Flint has made a difference to LAAPOA by re-establishing public safety and policing as a priority — one as important as airport beautification, buildings, planes and expansion at LAX. She has set the tone for valuing Los Angeles Airport Police and hearing the needs of rank-and-file officers at LAWA,” says LAAPOA President Marshall McClain. “By choosing Chief Rhambo, she has brought a new energy and a much-needed leader to LAXPD who will lead by example, as she has done. We are sorry to see CEO Flint go, but celebrate the mark she has left on LAWA, the City of Los Angeles, the region and the aviation community, which I am hopeful will long outweigh her tenure.
“On behalf of LAAPOA, I want to thank CEO Flint for her example in breaking many barriers at LAWA and appointing leaders to do the same,” McClain continues. “We wish you well, Debbie, and thank you. May you continue to ‘Fly Debbie Fly’ and know that you are on our list of things to be thankful for this holiday season.”