November 2, 2011
MAYOR VILLARAIGOSA, LAWA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GINA MARIE LINDSEY: MAKING A SAFE LAX THE MOST SECURE IN ITS CLASS AND IN THE WORLD
Blue Ribbon Panel's Top-to-bottom Security Review Concludes LAX is Safer Today than Following 9/11
Vast Majority of Panel Recommendations Have Been Implemented or Are In Progress, Including Hiring New Deputy Director, Law Enforcement and Homeland Security
LOS ANGELES — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey, and members of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Airport Security, today released the findings of the panel's comprehensive security review of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and announced a ten point action plan for safety. The report finds that LAX is safer today than it was following 9/11 due in part to $1.6 billion that has been invested in public safety and security at the airport over the past ten years.
"This report confirms what we have known to be true: LAX is safe and is safer today than it was following 9/11," said Mayor Villaraigosa. "But I appointed this panel because we are committed to making LAX the safest, most secure airport in its class around the world. We have already implemented or are in progress of implementing a vast majority of the panel’s recommendations and we will be taking concrete steps to further enhance security and protect the flying public."
To stay on the cutting edge of best practices in airport security, the Mayor tasked the panel with conducting an independent, comprehensive review of security at LAX. The panel provided recommendations in five areas: Counterterrorism/Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Emergency Management, Fire Operations, and Information Technology. The vast majority of the recommendations have been completed or are currently in progress.
"The safety and security of everyone at LAX is my number one priority," said Gina Marie Lindsey, Executive Director Los Angeles World Airports. "We intend to remain a very safe and secure airport. To do so, we must be vigilant in our public safety efforts, evolve our security measures to meet emerging threats and constantly evaluate whether we are doing the right things in the right way. We have invested more than $1.6 billion to make LAX safer and more secure since 9/11. I will continue to work closely with the Board of Airport Commissioners to evaluate and consider the remaining recommendations. All of us at LAWA are committed to the mission to keep LAX safe and secure."
Focused on a commitment to make a safe LAX the most secure in its class and in the world, the Mayor announced an action plan to further improve security at LAX and address recommendations in the report. The plan calls for the hiring of a Deputy Executive Director for Public Safety; enhancing collaboration between LAPD and LAWAPD; updating emergency management procedures; improving physical security at the airport; continued focus on fire and safety operations; and coordination with partner agencies and entities at the airport.
Implementing one of the panel's main law enforcement recommendations, LAWA announced the hiring of Arif Alikhan as the new Deputy Director for Law Enforcement and Homeland Security. He will be charged with all security and public safety matters for LAWA and will work with LAPD and the other agencies responsible for security at the airport. Alikhan was mostly recently a Distinguished Professor of Homeland Security and Counterterrorism at National Defense University’s (NDU) College of International Security Affairs in Washington, D.C. Prior to this, he served as Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and as Deputy Mayor for Homeland Security and Public Safety for the City of Los Angeles.
The 27-member panel appointed by the Mayor last November included expert professionals from diverse fields including homeland security, law enforcement, academia, anti-terrorism, technology, and emergency management. The panel was chaired by Lourdes Baird, a retired federal judge.
“Throughout the process, the Panel found the airport to be safe and sought to provide recommendations to enhance it further,” said Lourdes Baird, retired US District Court Judge and Blue Ribbon Panel Chair. “It has been an honor to serve as Chair of the Blue Ribbon Panel and to work with this dedicated group of individuals. I am confident that the leaders at the airport will continue to make public safety their highest priority.”
“The recommendations are intended to enhance the existing security at LAX to ensure that it remains as one of the safest airports in the nation for the protection of the traveling public and the many stakeholders at the airport,” said Richard Drooyan, President of LAPD Commission and Blue Panel member. “We appreciate the cooperation of Los Angeles World Airports that we received and also its commitment to the implementation of these recommendations and to enhancing security at LAX.”
The Mayor also announced that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has awarded LAX $13.5 million in funding for an enhanced closed-circuit television (CCTV) system designed to strengthen security at the airport. The funding is part of a $36 million joint venture between TSA and LAX to upgrade and expand the airports camera network. CCTV systems are an integral part of security operations, acting as a force multiplier and providing threat detection and emergency response capabilities.
"The commitment the City of Los Angeles has demonstrated time and again to ensure the safety and security of its airport is unmatched," said TSA Federal Security Director Randy Parsons. "Under the leadership of the Mayor, the Blue Ribbon Panel has indicated we are on the right path, with more work to be done. As partners, TSA stands ready to continue our work with the City and is acting promptly by announcing approximately $13.5 million in funding for a joint-venture installation of an enhanced closed circuit television (CCTV) system designed to strengthen security at airport."
The City has continually invested in a number of security improvements since 9/11, totaling $1.6 billion:
- In January 2011, LAX opened a new, $13.9 million, state-of-the-art Airport Response and Coordination Center (ARCC) that is both a daily operations center, and an emergency operations center entitled the Incident Management Center (IMC).
- Automated Imaging Technology has been installed at every terminal to screen passengers for both metallic and non-metallic threats, including weapons, explosives or other items that may be concealed under a passenger’s clothes.
- LAWA is investing in an In-Line Baggage Handling & Screening System program will improve and automate the security screening of checked baggage at LAX terminals and will make travel through LAX safer, faster and convenient.
- LAX created a randomized vehicle check inspection process called ARMOR, acknowledged in aviation security as a best practice.
- Bollards and planter barriers have been installed at key locations within the Central Terminal Area to mitigate large vehicle devices from being able to drive up/over curbs and penetrate terminal areas.
- Through a joint LAPD/LAWAPD effort, there are more explosive detection canines at LAX than at any airport in the nation. Earlier this year, new canines were added to airport security that are able to detect persons carrying explosives, the first of their kind in the nation.
Click HERE to read the full Blue Ribbon Panel report.