The Transportation Security Administration is recommending that armed personnel be present at airport checkpoints during peak hours of passenger traffic, though airports would be able to tailor the security to their specific needs, reports the New York Times. TSA also suggests that security be increased at ticket counters and other areas in airports where passengers often gather. It recommends mandatory training for all TSA employees on how to respond to a shooting; twice-yearly evacuation drills; and the installation of panic buttons at airports that do not have them — and routine testing of such alerts.
The TSA report, first obtained by the Associated Press, was in response to a shooting last year at Los Angeles International Airport in which a worker was killed. TSA would not require airports to hire new officers, only to reassign those who are already on duty, concentrating them at checkpoints and ticket counters during peak periods of passenger arrivals and departures. The report recommends that, because of jurisdictional issues, airport police officers, not TSA officers, should provide the armed security at checkpoints. TSA said that its Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response squads would increase the number of their airport patrols. The agency created the special units in 2005 to perform random security sweeps aimed at preventing terrorist attacks. TSA chief John Pistole is scheduled to present the report to a congressional committee meeting Friday in Los Angeles.