TSA proposes armed officers at checkpoints

A TSA report released Wednesday says the agency needs armed personnel at its checkpoints following a shooting at LAX last November that killed one person and injured three others.

The report includes 14 recommendations including but not limited to "active shooter training," reinforcing "emergency protocols," and enhancing "law enforcement presence," to name a few — all centered around increasing the safety and security of TSA officers.

The report includes adding those extra law enforcement officers at ticket counters and checkpoints during high volume travel times. (Via KCAL)

TSA Administrator John Pistole told the Los Angeles Times the report was a "measured response" to the Nov. 1 attack. He said, "The bottom line of all this is … that we are doing everything we can to provide for the best possible safety and security."

In that November attack, then 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia reportedly entered the airport and fired 10 rounds from his assault rifle during a 10-minute shooting spree. Ciancia was wounded in a shootout with authorities and then taken into custody. (Via CNN)

Gerardo Hernandez was the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty since the agency's creation in 2001. USA Today reports TSA checkpoint officers currently are not armed and rely on local police to handle criminal issues, like finding a gun on a traveler.

The paper adds, "‚Äčassigning police to airports will depend on local priorities and funding. About 323 airports receive federal reimbursement for police officers at airports."

According to The Wall Street Journal, the TSA officers union said the recommendations in the report don't go far enough. The union said in a statement, "Only an armed law enforcement unit within TSA can ensure the constant and consistent presence … needed in the immediate area of the checkpoints."

According to the Los Angeles Times, the report is a culmination of feedback from the aviation industry, law enforcement agencies, TSA employees and others. Pistole will present the report to Congress Friday when he testifies at a hearing for the House Homeland Security committee.

 

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