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TSA union calls for armed guards at every checkpoint

Published: November 3, 2013
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Source: USA Today

The union representing airport screeners for the Transportation Security Administration says Friday's fatal shooting of an agent at Los Angeles International Airport highlights the need for armed security officers at every airport checkpoint.

"Every local airport has its own security arrangement with local police to some type of contract security force," said J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents the screeners. "There is no standardization throughout the country. Every airport operates differently. Obviously at L.A. there were a fair number of local police officers there."

TSA behavior-detection officer Gerardo Hernandez, 39, was killed in Friday's shooting, and two other agents were wounded.

Law enforcement officers at LAX shot and wounded the alleged shooter, 23-year-old Paul Ciancia, in Terminal 3, preventing what could have been a much larger tragedy.

TSA officials said Saturday that they don't anticipate a change in the agency security posture at the moment, but "passengers may see an increased presence of local law enforcement officers throughout the country."

Every commercial airport is required to have an airport security program that is approved by the TSA. But the agency said it is up to each airport authority and their local law enforcement partners to ensure the plan is implemented.

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