LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The deadly rampage at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday has reignited an ongoing debate about security procedures at the airport.
The crux of the issue is the number and placement of armed airport police officers.
As CBS2’s Dave Bryan reported Friday, recent changes have been made at LAX, such as the practice of posting an armed officer behind every screening area, according to Marshall McClain, the President of the Los Angeles Airport Police Officers Association.
Instead of having an armed officer stationed within 300-feet of the screening area, McClain says officers are now roving around the terminal but are required to be within a five-minute response time.
“They’re roving throughout the terminal as part of their patrol at the screening stations,” McClain said. “Up until earlier this year, the change was that our police officers at LAX were at the screening stations.”
But at a news conference with Mayor Garcetti and other city officials, the Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA) Police Chief Patrick Gannon defended the changes and denied they would have any effect on the safety and security at LAX.
“Many of you have probably traveled through an airport over the years and saw a police officer at a podium just behind the screening area. About a year ago when I got here, I thought that our officers needed to be out in front of the screening area rather than behind the screening area,” Gannon said.
Officer McClain says the two officers who shot the suspected gunman had recently completed training in simulated exercises similar to the incident that transpired at the airport on Friday.
Officials say an officer with the Transportation Security Administration was killed in the shooting, which left five others wounded, including the alleged gunman.