Recently, an article was published in the Huffington Post regarding airport policing in which myself and several other security experts were quoted.
There are several airports I have trained at, that have exemplified outstanding airport policing practices and I would like to share with you just one of those today.
The Los Angeles International Airport was one of the key locations that I researched while writing Practical Aviation Security, the textbook for the aviation security industry. Then-police chief Bernie Wilson provided me a tour and tons of information on good airport policing processes.
I recently had the privilege of revisiting Los Angeles and saw once again why they are among the best of the best.
First, is their autonomy from the Los Angeles police department. Unlike many airport policing departments LAX is a separate division from LAPD. LAX police officers are trained through the LAPD Academy but then are assigned to the airport for their career, at their choice.
The LAX police realize that airport policing is unique. This is exemplified by the motto on their “Airports mean business.”
While the security of the facility and the safety and security of the traveling public is job one, airport policing recognizes that millions of dollars of business takes place every day at an airport. When there is a suspicious device or bag, that must be cleared as expeditiously as possible so that business can continue.
Additionally, LAX police realize that airport policing is true “community policing.” Not every individual they stop at an airport is a criminal, unlike the vast majority of people police deal with on the streets everyday.
LAX police are also specially trained with response units, diplomatic security, and other specialized units. In meeting and training many of the LAX police force, I can attest that these are elite police officers, young and old, men and women, true professionals, who understand the airport environment, and are dedicated to the security of the traveling public.
LAX follows numerous initiatives, including vehicle checkpoint inspections, an integrated airport response center for both day-to-day operations and a first-class response center for emergency operations.
For any airport that is looking to improve their airport policing, get a ticket to LAX and go visit. You will see some of the best practices in our industry in action.