TSA report identifies new measures to ensure safety and security of TSA employees and travelers

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Report follows extensive review of incident; consultation with employees, law enforcement, airport operators and other stakeholders following November 2013 LAX shooting
National Press Release
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today released a report, which concludes a comprehensive review of policies, procedures and operations following the Nov. 1, 2013, incident at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which took the life of Transportation Security Officer Gerardo I. Hernandez and injured two other officers and a traveler.

Since the incident, TSA has taken extensive steps to enhance the safety and security of its employees at airports nationwide, increasing protection for TSA employees and the traveling public. Today’s announcement builds on the steps already taken to protect the nation’s transportation network and those responsible for its enforcement.

“Following the incident at LAX last year, which shocked and saddened us all, I ordered a comprehensive review of policies and procedures at LAX and airports across the country,” said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “The report released today outlines the actions TSA took immediately following the shooting and new procedures to enhance the safety and security of TSA employees nationwide, especially those who work on the frontlines each and every day to protect the traveling public.”

The report released today takes into account the results of both internal and external working groups, reflecting extensive feedback and participation by TSA employees, industry stakeholders, law enforcement, airport operators, the American Federation of Government Employees, and various travel-related associations, including members of the TSA Aviation Security Advisory Committee.

“We sought the input of all TSA employees through a variety of mechanisms such as town hall meetings and the online Idea Factory. Ideas were submitted from all levels of the organization, to include our frontline officers and Federal Security Directors,” said Pistole. “Many of these ideas were endorsed and incorporated into our action plan. We continue to welcome stakeholder and workforce feedback to improve safety and security at airports nationwide.”

Immediately following the shooting, TSA increased the visibility of uniformed officers by ensuring that state and local airport law enforcement agencies increased deployment of uniformed officers in and around security checkpoints. This action included redeploying certain TSA Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams to the aviation sector. The agency also provided grief counseling to employees with ongoing follow up.

Since the shooting, the agency has implemented several significant actions focused on improving officer safety and security. These actions include: (1) mandating active shooter training and exercises for TSA employees and requiring bi-annual evacuation drills; (2) acquiring additional duress alarms to close existing gaps; (3) ensuring that all airports have explicit maximum response times; and (4) continuing to have an increased VIPR team presence at airports. TSA also issued recommended standards to airports for law enforcement presence at checkpoints and ticket counters during peak travel times and further recommended bi-annual active shooter training and exercises. A more comprehensive summary of TSA’s actions is listed below.

Today’s report, “Enhancing TSA Officer Safety and Security at Airports: Agency Actions and Path Forward,” outlines several significant changes that will improve security at checkpoints nationwide, including:

  • Enhanced Training, Communications and Employee Support
    • Mandatory active shooter training and exercises;
    • Recommending bi-annual training for airport operators;
    • Reinforcing emergency procedures through daily supervisor review and mandatory bi-annual evacuation drills;
    • Keeping employees informed of actions taken;
    • Providing ongoing access to grief counseling;
    • Improving Federal Air Marshals notification regarding active shooter incidents; and
    • Supporting changes to first responder policies and training in responding to active shooter incidents.
  • Equipment and Technology
    • Routinely testing existing alert notification capacity (“duress” alarms);
    • Expanding duress coverage at screening locations across the country;
    • Encouraging linkage of duress alarms to CCTV systems; and
    • Using alternate local airport emergency phone numbers.
  • Law Enforcement Officers at Checkpoints – Presence and Response
    • Issuing recommended standards for law enforcement presence at checkpoints and ticket counters during peak travel times;
    • Ensuring explicit inclusion of maximum response times in Airport Security Programs operating under a flexible response plan; and
    • Extending the temporary redeployment of certain VIPR teams to airports.

Download a copy of the full report(pdf, 905 kb)