LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A legislative effort to reclassify Los Angeles Airport Police officers as legal equivalents to officers within other police agencies is moving forward in Sacramento.

Assembly Bill 128 would place any regularly employed Los Angeles World Airports law enforcement officer within a different category of peace officers with arrest powers, the authority to carry certain firearms and “whose authority extends to any place in the state.”

Under current law, airport police are prohibited from performing various law enforcement duties, including the ability to seize firearms or other deadly weapons, cite minors for underage drinking, remove unsafe vehicles from the road, or enforce laws related to the making of false bomb reports.

The legislation — which has been endorsed by outgoing L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor-Elect Eric Garcetti, and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Charlie Beck among others — passed on the State Assembly floor Tuesday with a vote of 62 to 4.

With more than 400 sworn police officers among its ranks, the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association (LAAPOA) hopes the bill “will afford airport police the respect reflective of their training and education and provide the citizens they serve services important to their mission.”

The LAXPD is funded solely by passenger fees and other fees associated with the airport because federal law requires that all funds generated by the airport must be used solely for airport purposes, according to the LAAPOA.

It was not immediately clear when the State Senate is expected to take up the bill for review.

(©2013 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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