TSA Calls for Increased Police Presence at Airport Checkpoints

A report from the Transportation Security Administration outlines 14 recommendations for airports across the U.S. after the deadly shooting in 2013 at Los Angeles International.

by Kate Mather, Los Angeles Times / March 27, 2014
A Los Angeles police officer walks with a bomb sniffing dog at Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, the day after a shooting incident in which a TSA officer was slain. Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times/MCT

The Transportation Security Administration has called for an increased police presence at its checkpoints at airports nationwide, one of several steps the agency plans to take to improve security after November's deadly shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.

A 25-page report released by the agency Wednesday outlines 14 recommendations to be implemented at airports across the country, including mandatory active-shooter training for TSA personnel, regular testing of panic buttons at TSA checkpoints and streamlined emergency response technology. Costs have yet to be determined.

In an interview with The Times, TSA Administrator John Pistole said that although his agency "can't prevent all bad things from happening," the assessment offered a "measured response."

"The bottom line of all this is … that we are doing everything we can to provide for the best possible safety and security," Pistole said.

Authorities allege Paul Anthony Ciancia, now 24, targeted TSA officers in the roughly five-minute attack Nov. 1. Gerardo I. Hernandez, a 39-year-old father of two, became the agency's first officer killed in the line of duty. Two other agents and a teacher were wounded.

Ciancia has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts, including murder and attempted murder, and is awaiting trial. U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder has not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty.

The shooting raised questions about airport security and emergency response, prompting a closer look at such things as communications systems and evacuation routes and how quickly paramedics enter active-shooter situations. Public safety agencies and LAX officials have already begun work on improvements to radio equipment, emergency phones and training for helping stranded passengers.

The airport's own assessment, released last week, determined that communication problems between agencies led to a chaotic evacuation and delays in reaching victims. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the TSA report was a "good companion" to the airport's assessment.

Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times