The American Alliance of Airport Police Officers (AAAPO) is composed of rank-and-file airport police officers (including many dual police/aircraft rescue firefighters) who stand as the first line of defense against terrorist attacks, hijackings and other criminal activity at our nation’s airports.
It’s time to stop adding confusion to police response at airports by haphazardly throwing non-airport-specific police into major airports to “support” our mission. Let’s start with the facts: Basic education and training is an important foundation for all police officers. AAAPO airport police graduate from law enforcement academies and are certified officers in their jurisdictions.
Terror struck London on Wednesday, just four days after another attack took place at Paris’ Orly airport. Press releases expressing our sympathies and proposed counteractions are becoming too common, and yet there has still been no federal movement on AAAPO’s simple, commonsense initiatives to support our airports and the police who patrol them.
This past Saturday morning, Orly Airport in Paris was the target of an attack by a man carrying a weapon and a can of gas in his rucksack. The suspect grabbed a French soldier at the airport and used her as a shield before two other soldiers shot the man dead. This is yet another terror-related incident in France, which has been the target of repeated acts of terrorism over the last several years.
This week, an airline passenger relayed how she was able to inadvertently take a loaded gun onto an airplane. In this stunning event, the woman went through TSA security, got to her gate and realized her loaded revolver was still in her purse. She has anonymously spoken out to illustrate the ease with which she was able to breach security.
Yesterday, 11 passengers breached a TSA screening checkpoint when a screening lane was left open and unmanned at JFK Airport’s JetBlue terminal. Even more unbelievable is that three of the passengers set off the metal detector yet were able to board their flights, since the Port Authority airport police were not informed by TSA of the security breach until two hours after the incident occurred.
A new report by the House Homeland Security Committee finds that current vetting procedures for airport employees are insufficient. The American Alliance of Airport Police Officers (AAAPO) has long called for stronger vetting of airport employees, particularly 100% screening of all airport employees, including TSA, and encourages lawmakers to help fix these gaps by enacting legislation.
The American Alliance of Airport Police Officers (AAAPO) is saddened to learn of today’s shooting at Ft. Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport. While initial reports are still coming in, we extend our sympathies to the families and friends of the five people who were killed, those who have been injured and all those affected by this horrible incident.