Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Friday’s rampage at New Orleans International Airport shows the need for a law enforcement officer within 300 feet of airport screening checkpoints, something called for after a shooting at LAX in 2013, the leaders of two airport police unions said.

The New Orleans International machete attack bore similarities to November 1, 2013 shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, said Los Angeles Airport Police Officers’ Association president Marshall McClain and his counterpart at the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association Paul Nunziato. It raises significant concerns regarding Transportation Security Agency checkpoints.

“The screening checkpoint is a uniquely vulnerable area within airports given that awaiting planes are located just beyond this area,” said McClain. “In order to best protect our airports and their occupants, it is necessary to have a law enforcement officer within 300 feet of the TSA checkpoint to help fortify this area.”

Nunziato noted the American Alliance of Airport Police Officers raised concerns about security near screening areas with the TSA Administrator in 2012. “Neither me nor Marshall are rocket scientists or psychics but our common sense suggestions were ignored. Airport police officers were the first responders to the incidents at LAX, San Francisco and New Orleans.”

Posting airport police within 300 feet of screening checkpoints would stop those wishing to inflict harm from getting access to what makes airports different from other areas of mass gatherings–airplanes, the statement said.

McClain and Nunziato praised New Orleans Airport police Lt. Heather Sylve, who shot and fatally wounded Richard White as he chased a TSA agent with a machete and a can of wasp spray. White died at a New Orleans hospital Saturday afternoon.

—City News Service

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