John Wayne Airport is planning to use private security guards to protect its airfield vehicle entrances, instead of the sheriff's special officers it uses now.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors is set to vote on the security firm's contract at its 9:30 a.m. meeting Tuesday.
Airport staff members have recommended that Orange-based Heritage Security Services be awarded the contract. The bidding process attracted 11 applicants.
As the airport fully staffs Terminal C, the new six-gate facility it opened in November, it has proposed moving sheriff's special officers from the perimeter to the passenger terminal. The roughly $750,000 annual contract is more predictable than public law-enforcement costs, airport spokeswoman Jenny Wedge said.
Based on federal and other regulations, Terminal C requires 20 law enforcement officers, Wedge said. The proposal would move 16 sheriff's special officers from the perimeter to the passenger gates and vehicle areas. The Sheriff's Department would add an additional four officers to the terminal.
JWA has three airfield vehicle access points. At two of them, pilots and others enter for general aviation and flight schools. One of the gates is used for freight. Armed security guards would check people for proper identification.