TSA further ensures safety and security of employees and travellers
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of United States of America has released a report, which concludes a comprehensive review of policies, procedures and operations following the November 1, 2013, incident at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which took the life of TSA Officer Gerardo I. Hernandez and injured two other officers and a traveller.
Since the incident, TSA has taken extensive steps to enhance the safety and security of its employees at airports nationwide, increasing protection for TSA employees and the travelling public. The recent announcement builds on the steps already taken to protect the nation’s transportation network and those responsible for its enforcement.
“Following the incident at LAX last year, which shocked and saddened us all, I ordered a comprehensive review of policies and procedures at LAX and airports across the country,” said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “The report released outlines the actions TSA took immediately following the shooting and new procedures to enhance the safety and security of TSA employees nationwide, especially those who work on the frontlines each and every day to protect the travelling public.”
The report released takes into account the results of both internal and external working groups, reflecting extensive feedback and participation by TSA employees, industry stakeholders, law enforcement, airport operators, the American Federation of Government Employees, and various travel-related associations, including members of the TSA Aviation Security Advisory Committee.
“We sought the input of all TSA employees through a variety of mechanisms such as town hall meetings and the online Idea Factory. Ideas were submitted from all levels of the organisation, to include our frontline officers and Federal Security Directors,” said Pistole. “Many of these ideas were endorsed and incorporated into our action plan. We continue to welcome stakeholder and workforce feedback to improve safety and security at airports nationwide.”
Immediately following the shooting, TSA increased the visibility of uniformed officers by ensuring that state and local airport law enforcement agencies increased deployment of uniformed officers in and around security checkpoints. This action included redeploying certain TSA Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams to the aviation sector. The agency also provided grief counselling to employees with ongoing follow up.
Since the shooting, the agency has implemented several significant actions focused on improving officer safety and security. These actions include: (1) mandating active shooter training and exercises for TSA employees and requiring biannual evacuation drills; (2) acquiring additional duress alarms to close existing gaps; (3) ensuring that all airports have explicit maximum response times; and (4) continuing to have an increased VIPR team presence at airports.