JOHN WAYNE AIRPORT -- Adding more than 100 additional sheriff's
deputies at the airport is the most cost-effective way for the Orange
County Board of Supervisors to maintain stepped-up security, officials
At its Wednesday meeting, the board unanimously approved spending
about $16 million over the next 18 months to hire 106 deputies and pay
for rocketing overtime costs to button down the airport.
The Sheriff's Department has staffed the airport on a 24-hour,
seven-day-a-week basis since Sept. 11 with deputies who have been asked
to add to their regular duties, Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo said.
"It's the most cost-effective way to provide security at the airport,"
Jaramillo said. "You can only burn out people so many times."
The board approved two payments -- one for the current fiscal year
ending June 30 and another for the 2002-03 year. The first payment is an
$8.7-million outlay for the overtime and start-up costs, such as
uniforms, guns and bulletproof vests. A second payment of $7.7 million
will go toward paying the salaries of the deputies.
The Sheriff's Department plans to hire 93 "special officers," a
lower-tier position that requires less training. Those deputies, however,
have all the police powers -- including a handgun and arrest ability --
The department will also hire nine deputy sheriffs for general law
enforcement, canine patrol and traffic enforcement.
Airport spokeswoman Ann McCarley said airport managers support the
move. Airport operating revenue will pay for the new jobs.
"This will allow for the positions to be permanent," McCarley said.
"This will alleviate the amount of overtime cost."
Security costs at the airport have already been rising. Airport
Director Alan Murphy has estimated an approximately $9-million increase
in costs for the year following Sept. 11.
* Paul Clinton covers the environment and John Wayne Airport. He may
be reached at (949) 764-4330 or by e-mail ato7