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TSA chief says no to arming airport screeners

Crime, Law and JusticeLaw EnforcementShootingsCrimeSecurity MeasuresTransportation Security AdministrationLAX Shooting

On Thursday, the head of the Transportation Security Administration visited Los Angeles International Airport, the site of a Nov. 1 shooting, where he rejected the idea of arming TSA security officers.

TSA chief John Pistole visited LAX to announce the opening of an enrollment center where passengers can submit background information to apply to use faster screening lines.

When asked about the Nov. 1 shooting that killed TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez, 39, and wounded three others, Pistole said he had rejected the idea of arming TSA agents at the screening gates.

Shortly after the shooting, the union representing 45,000 federal security agents called for the creation of a class of armed TSA officers with law enforcement training and the authority to arrest people.

At the time, Pistole said he would review TSA protocol after the shooting.

On Thursday, he defended the TSA's response to the shooting but said the agency will work to improve response time and communications with local police.

"There was a good response and the tragedy could have been worse," he said.

Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, said changes will be made in the deployment of airport police in response to the shooting but declined to elaborate.

"There have been some adjustments, but we do not talk about deployment," she said. "Suffice to say we are working hand and glove with the TSA."

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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