Major airports across the United States increased police visibility, bag checks in response to incident
Days after an active shooter took the lives of five flyers in Fort Lauderdale, airports across the United States are taking actions to increase the police presence in terminals to ensure something similar does not happen again. ABC News reports several airports implemented emergency response protocols after news of the shooting spread.
Across all three airports serving New York City, Port Authority Police teams were activated to respond to a potential active shooter situation. The response included tactical officers, K9 units trained to check for guns and explosives, and additional random bag checks.
At Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), the police response included specially armed police officers and road blockades. On the opposite coast of the shooting, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) activated officers patrolling the airport with long rifles. Other responses included adding security staff at San Diego International Airport (SAN), while officials for Houston’s airports took the opportunity to review their own safety protocols.
The increased responses were an additional measure to ensure the safety of passengers across the country, after several attacks around the world have focused on airports. In 2016, Brussels Airport (BRU) and Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST) were both sites of terrorist attacks against airline passengers. With the rise in violence, security experts are concerned that the attacks could force airlines to draw a harsher line between passenger experience and safety measures.
“At the end there is always an outer perimeter at which the security measures are never present,” Bennet Waters, a counterterrorism expert at the Chertoff Group, told Time Magazine. “We can continue to expand those circles, but the question becomes: where does it end?”
The airports have not announced when the security responses could subside. Passengers flying in the upcoming weeks are cautioned to add more time to their travels, due to the increased measures.