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Airport security staff on the rise

Ben Godar

With the number of officers on the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport

Police force continuing to rise, Security Director Mike Post believes

the facility will be able to stop contracting for outside officers by

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the end of the year.

The airport currently contracts with the Burbank and Glendale

police departments for officers to fill its ranks. Authorized to

employ as many as 34 officers, Post said the airport presently

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employs 22. When he was hired to oversee airport security in December

2001, there were only 12 officers on the force.

Post said a variety of factors have allowed the airport to hire

more officers, not the least of which is that there are fewer

law-enforcement jobs available.

“So many other municipalities have frozen hiring because of budget

problems,” he said. “We’ve had an increase in applicants and an

increase in overall quality.”

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Although the focus on airport security has raised the prestige of

serving on an airport police force, Post said he was unsure if that

was leading to more applicants.

The style and pace of airport policing are different from working

for a city department and attract a different group of people, Post

said. Specifically, he said airport officers see much lower levels of

violence than other police.

“One of the best things about airport policing is we seldom see

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the real ugly stuff they do on the outside,” he added.

Officers from Burbank and Glendale have been stationed at the

airport since the 2001 terrorist attacks. They serve while off duty

from their respective departments, but retain their full authority as

police officers while at the airport, Glendale Police Sgt. Kirk

Palmer said. The cities are fully reimbursed for the cost of the

officers, he said.

Palmer, who coordinates staffing of officers from the two

departments, said providing officers to the airport has put no strain

on the cities’ departments.

“We’re able to provide the resources when they need it, but we’re

glad they’ve been able to get up to the staffing levels they need,”

he said.

Having a force made up entirely of the airport’s own officers will

improve the quality of police work at the facility, Post said.

“A lot of our contract people, while very capable officers in

their cities, have very little background in aviation issues,” he

said. “When everybody is up to speed on all the important things at

the airport, we’ll be more efficient.”


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