Record num­ber of guns taken from At­lanta air­port pas­sen­gers

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL -

Dal­las Po­lice Chief Joe Du­vall and Fair­mount Po­lice Chief Lane Ben­nett were seated as mem­bers of the High­land Rivers Health gov­ern­ing board at its most re­cent meet­ing in Oc­to­ber.

Du­vall and Ben­nett will serve as board rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Pauld­ing and Gor­don coun­ties, re­spec­tively.

“The fact is, law en­force­ment of­fi­cers are of­ten the first peo­ple who come into con­tact with in­di­vid­u­als in men­tal health cri­sis or with sub­stance use dis­or­ders, so it is crit­i­cal that we work to­gether closely to meet the needs of vul­ner­a­ble in­di­vid­u­als in our com­mu­ni­ties,” said Chantel Adams, chair of High­land Rivers’ gov­ern­ing board. “Chief Du­vall and Chief Ben­nett will be ex­cel­lent ad­di­tions to our gov­ern­ing board and we are pleased to have them join us.”

High­land Rivers Health is gov­erned by a 14-mem­ber board that in­cludes a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from ev­ery county in the agency’s ser­vice area (with two rep­re­sen­ta­tives from both Floyd and Polk coun­ties) who are ap­pointed by each county’s board of com­mis­sion­ers.

Mem­bers serve three­year terms, and terms are stag­gered to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity of gov­er­nance.

The board in­cludes sev­eral in­di­vid­u­als who have fam­ily mem­bers with men­tal ill­ness, ad­dic­tive dis­ease or de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties, and in­cludes rep­re­sen­ta­tives from lo­cal govern­ment, the ju­di­cial sys­tem, fam­ily ser­vices, pri­vate in­dus­try, law en­force­ment, and health­care, among oth­ers.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the High­land Rivers Health gov­ern­ing board, in­clud­ing a list of mem­bers, meet­ing sched­ule and meet­ing min­utes, visit the High­land Rivers web­site board page at http://high­landriver­shealth. com/gov­ern­ing-board/.

Fed­eral au­thor­i­ties say more guns have been seized at se­cu­rity check­points in At­lanta’s air­port dur­ing 2018 than at any other air­port in the na­tion.

Nearly 300 firearms have been found this year at Harts­field-Jack­son At­lanta In­ter­na­tional Air­port. That means it has set a record even be­fore the year ends, The At­lanta Jour­nalCon­sti­tu­tion re­ported.

“I know you can’t imag­ine this, but the pas­sen­ger will say, ‘I for­got it was in the bag,’” said Mary Leftridge Byrd, the Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s At­lanta fed­eral se­cu­rity direc­tor.

U.S. At­tor­ney Byung J. “BJay” Pak also re­minded trav­el­ers to en­sure that they haven’t un­know­ingly brought a weapon to the air­port.

“Check your bags, check your purses,” he said. “Dou­ble and triple check be­fore you come to the air­port to make sure you do not have a firearm, if you in­tend to fly.”

Last year, a record 245 guns were dis­cov­ered at At­lanta’s air­port.

At­lanta’s air­port has held the No. 1 spot in the na­tion for guns un­cov­ered at check­points for the past two years.

Au­thor­i­ties say 293 firearms have been found in carry-on bags and as im­prop­erly packed or un­de­clared guns in checked lug­gage so far this year in At­lanta. The Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion says that on av­er­age, 80 to 90 per­cent of the weapons are loaded.

Peo­ple found in vi­o­la­tion may face pun­ish­ment, in­clud­ing fed­eral ci­ta­tions, civil penal­ties, crim­i­nal charges and fines. Penal­ties for of­fend­ers in­clude a fine of up to $13,333. Re­peat of­fend­ers could be charged with a fed­eral mis­de­meanor, pun­ish­able with up to a $100,000 fine and a year in jail, Pak said.

“If you are caught with a weapon in your bag, even a first-time of­fender will pay a fine. You will be is­sued a ci­ta­tion. You’ll have to ap­pear in court to re­solve the ci­ta­tion. You’ll lose your gun. You won’t make your flight,” said Jim Hur­ley, the Fed­eral Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion’s as­sis­tant spe­cial agent in charge in At­lanta.

Pak said he’s look­ing at ideas for more ways to get the mes­sage out, such as re­minders to trav­el­ers when they check in on­line with Delta Air Lines and more signs at air­port park­ing no­ti­fy­ing pas­sen­gers that guns are not al­lowed at se­cu­rity check­points.

HOUSE FIRE: Fire­fight­ers re­sponded to a house fire in past weeks (Satur­day, Nov. 17) to a struc­ture in flames and un­for­tu­nately recorded as a to­tal loss in the Branch Road area of Cedar­town. Polk County Fire and Emer­gency Man­age­ment re­ported on their Face­book page no cause for the fire, but did re­port all made it out safely and with­out in­jury.

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