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
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
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.”
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
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,”
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.”