Reporting Charles Feldman
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A new police chief is pledging to beef up security at the nation’s second-busiest airport.
KNX 1070′s Charles Feldman reports a 34-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department also hopes to strengthen ties between his former department and police at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
As the Chief of LAWA’s Airport Police Division, Gannon will oversee law enforcement and security operations at LAX, LA/Ontario International (ONT) and Van Nuys (VNY) general aviation airports, as well as at LAWA’s aviation-related property in Palmdale.
The appointment comes just under one year after a KNX 1070 investigation found a lack of a visible police presence at the airport and prompted the City Council to call for an independent audit.
Gannon said that is one of the many things he plans to improve under his leadership.
“The General Manager wants the police more visible,” he said. “That was one of the marching orders that she gave me earlier this week when we sat down together.”
Gannon also hopes to lead the fourth-largest law enforcement agency in Los Angeles County with more than 1,100 law enforcement, security and staff personnel into a more cooperative relationship with the LAPD, which has some airport functions.
A Blue Ribbon panel investigation initially signaled a preference for having the LAPD simply absorb the LAX police force, but that would have required an amendment to the City Charter.
Instead, Gannon anticipates using his diplomatic talents to improve relations between the two agencies.
“I understand the Los Angeles Police Department and I hope to understand very quickly the Airport Police Department, and bringing those two together and diplomacy and all the things that I think I’ve done well over 34 years, building partnerships in difficult areas of the city, that I can take those skills and bring them to the airport and get LAPD and the airport police working together and on the same page,” he said.
Gannon retired from the LAPD last summer after 34 years of service, including 12 years at the executive management level.
He most recently served as deputy chief and commanding officer of LAPD’s Operations-South Bureau, which services 800,000 residents in South Los Angeles with 1,700 sworn employees and 150 civilian employees.