Do Local Police Have Responsibility For Airport Security?


Houston police and the federal Transportation Security Administration disagree over who is responsible for allowing a man with what appeared to be bomb components board an aircraft last week, reports the Houston Chronicle. Although the FBI eventually cleared the man of wrongdoing, police officials have transferred the officer involved and are investigating the incident while insisting that the TSA, not police, has the authority to keep a suspicious person from boarding a flight. “Our job is not to be the gatekeepers,” police Capt. Dwayne Ready said. “That burden falls squarely on the airline and TSA to make that final decision.

TSA spokeswoman Andrea McCauley said screeners have the authority to stop people from going beyond the checkpoint to the boarding areas, but they rely heavily on local police. A confidential TSA report obtained by the Chronicle details a dispute between screeners and a police officer at the airport. The incident gained enough attention at higher levels of the TSA that the FBI was asked to investigate. The TSA said its screeners “acted in accordance with their training and protocols.”


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