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Feeling more secure at his post

Ryan Carter

BURBANK -- Mike Post’s small office in the main terminal at the

Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport belies his big job: to prepare the

Airport Police Department for the post-Sept. 11 world.

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Post is the airport’s director of public safety, a position created to

streamline security measures after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He

started the job last month.

Even Post, whose 28 years with the Glendale Police Department ranged

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from experience in internal affairs to supervising high-profile murder

cases, acknowledges he has walked into a strange scenario.

“Here, you’ve got this eclectic mix of the airlines and the FAA and

the Airport Authority. The lines of authority and responsibility can be

very fuzzy,” Post said.

The atmosphere since Sept. 11 has meant daily changes in the focus of

law enforcement.

“Who would have thought that today you could look at the other side of

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the airfield at that little Cessna and view it as a public safety risk --

not just parked in the wrong place. Who knows what it will be tomorrow?”

Post said.

Post is already grappling with how his small staff will deal with

increased foot traffic and calls for service after Friday’s federal

deadline requiring airlines to screen all checked bags.

The issue underscores Post’s central goal: to guide what he calls the

professionalization of the Airport Police, an effort initiated in

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October.

The plan is to increase the number of officers from 19 to 34 while

ensuring that they meet state certification criteria.

Post, who is already recruiting and developing training plans, is

eager to revamp the department so airport officials can stop paying city

police departments to supplement his staff.

“There’s a lot of challenges here, but it’s easy to see where we need

to go,” Post said, adding that he is trying to double his staff in a time

of smaller applicant pools across the nation. “Quite frankly, my first 30

days have been spent mostly slapping bricks individually down in order to

ultimately end up with a bigger and better structure.”


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