Villaraigosa, Expert Panel To Review LAX Security

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will convene a panel of aviation, homeland security and law enforcement experts to determine whether Los Angeles International Airport is prone to terrorist attacks, officials said Thursday.

Before the end of the year, the independent panel will examine whether the airport’s perimeter, terminals and roadway entrances are adequately protected, according to Michael Molina, the airport’s deputy executive director of external affairs.

The team also will review how airport police officers are assigned and the overall command and control of the department, Molina said.

Summit Announced In Wake Of LAX Emergency Exit Violations: KNX 1070’s Charles Feldman Reports

The review panel’s composition is expected to be announced within the next two weeks.

Members of the panel likely will include advisers from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, who have already visited LAX, Molina told the City Council’s Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee.

“I thought it was time to possibly lay to rest some of these allegations and have a timely review and audit of our practices by an outside authority,” Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who chairs the committee, was quoted by the Daily Breeze.

“I hope we don’t go into this with any kind of political agendas,” Hahn said. “This is really about the safety and security of the airport.”

The study was ordered after the head of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association alleged in July that LAX was “more vulnerable to terrorist attack than at any time since 9-11” due to budget and staffing cuts to the airport police department.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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