Federal Airport Screeners in Place at LIA - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/18/02

Federal Airport Screeners in Place at LIA

"Critics said it couldn't be done," said Federal Security Director Jim Holden, proudly marking the one year anniversary of the Transportation Security Administration. It's a government agency whose sole function is to ensure passenger safety in the wake of 9/11. A monumental task, requiring the deployment of 44,000 screeners. A job so large, skeptics doubted its feasibility.

"They painted a dark picture of mass confusion, missed flights, and most importantly, failed security," said Holden.

But so far, at Lubbock International Airport, those concerns have proved to be hollow. In fact, LIA was the first airport of its size in the country to fully comply with the new regulations. But what's actually changed? Officials point to three main areas: training, technology, and uniformity.

"It has changed considerably, because when I first started in screening, I was a contract screener, and I had a total of 12 hours of classroom training and probably about 40 hours of on the job training," said Screening Supervisor Doug Rogers.

Under the TSA, all screeners must now go through one week of classroom instruction and 60 hours of on the job training, teaching them how to use more sophisted x-ray equipment to detect weapons, and ensuring that every airport in the country is taking the same measures.

"This gives us the capability or knowledge of performing our duties the same across the board no matter where you are in the U.S.," said Rogers.

And that, is something passengers can feel good about.

"I was just picked," said one traveller, "I'm not upset about it, you know, anybody else could be picked, so I'm all for it, whatever is safe, I'll go for it."

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