Airport Officers Concerned About ‘Unguarded TSA Checkpoints’ In Light Of LAX Incident
Posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 – 10:18 AM
In the aftermath of an outbreak of panic prompted by false reports of gunfire at LAX Sunday, the American Alliance of Airport Police Officers today restated its concerns about “unguarded TSA checkpoints.”
“It is important to note that … passengers ran through security checkpoints without being cleared,” the organization said in a statement. “Furthermore, passengers who had already gone through clearance were running out of the airport onto the tarmac, which gave them direct access to planes. Many left luggage that could have explosives in it unattended.”
The source of the sounds that were apparently mistaken for gunfire remains a mystery.
“The point is, a bad guy does not have to be too sophisticated to be able to figure out that if someone just yells ‘shooter,’ all bets are off and TSA clearance immediately becomes free flowing and airplanes become accessible in the unfolding chaos,” the statement said.
“Without an armed officer at the checkpoints, the checkpoints themselves become utterly useless in a time of confusion and chaos,” the statement said.
“And without real-time access to cameras, airport police are hamstrung in having one of the most essential tools in assessing the legitimacy of situations like those that led to pandemonium …”
Marshall McClain, president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association and co-founder of the AAAPO, echoed the national organization’s statement.
“Once again, we are all witness to a chaotic situation that has exposed security gaps at the nation’s airports,” McClain said.
He restated the group’s call for an officer to be stationed within 300 feet of TSA checkpoints, and for airport police to have “unfettered access to all closed circuit camera systems in each airport.”
The AAAPO is comprised of thousands of rank-and-file airport police officers across the country, including many “dual police/aircraft rescue firefighters,” who stand as the first line of defense against terrorist attacks, hijackings and other criminal activity at airports, the organization said.
Its statement carried a provocative headline –“Could Terrorists Be Testing Our Airports” — but the text did not elaborate.