The union that represents the rank-and-file police officers at Los Angeles International Airport is raising concerns over a plan to cut back on airport vehicle checkpoints to save money.The security checks – part of what officials call “Operation Safe Entry” – have been conducted by 12-officer teams on about 50,000 vehicles annually at LAX, according to the Los Angeles Airport Police Department (LAXPD).
recent decision by police officials, however, the checkpoints have been
scaled back to an eight-officer position, a move that also means a
fewer number of actual checkpoints, Marshall McLain, president of the
Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers’ Association told KNX 1070’s Charles
According to McLain, LAXPD staffing numbers have
declined from a peak of about 450 officers in 2010 down to about 420
this year, even as passenger loads at LAX have increased by more than 10
million visitors in the last five years.
The development comes
on the heels of an Associated Press investigative report ranked LAX as
having the third highest number of perimeter breaches nationwide – a
ranking McLain said can be tied directly to a lack of manpower.
you’re talking about perimeter security, whether you’re talking about
internal security, you still need physical bodies to do that,” McLain
said. “They can spend billions of dollars when it comes to beautifying
the airport, but when it comes to the actual physical security part, we
always seem to find a reason why we can’t do what we need to do.”
response to the cuts, the union – which represents sworn police
officers and firefighters of the LAXPD assigned at LAX, LA/Ontario
International Airport (ONT) and Van Nuys Airport (VNY) – has filed an
official claim of unfair employee relations practice, McLain said.
according to LAX Police Asst. Chief Brian Walker, the Operation Safe
Entry checkpoints are not mandated, but rather are a voluntary overtime
Walker also said even with reduced teams, officers are still conducting searches of about 200 cars and trucks daily.