WASHINGTON, DC – Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issued the following statement in support of the aviation safety and security reforms advanced today by J. David Cox, President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), at a field hearing held by the House Homeland Security Committee in Los Angeles, CA.
“We join AFGE today in calling for the creation of Transportation Security Law Enforcement positions that will be charged with enhancing security at airport checkpoints throughout the country. This proposal is a common sense response to the tragic shooting and killing of a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) last November at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). That tragedy was a stark reminder that the nation’s 45,000 TSOs – on the frontlines of keeping our skies and airports safe – still face too much exposure to dangers and violence in and around security checkpoints.
“While we commend the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for its call for increased armed presence at airport security check points and in other sensitive areas of the terminals, we urge TSA Administrator Pistole to support staffing armed TSA Transportation Security Law Enforcement officer positions as a logical next step in fortifying security checkpoints. This approach is a win-win: it will keep TSOs safer while also enhancing passenger safety and security.
“It only makes sense to keep the safety of these security check points within the jurisdiction of TSA – it will give the agency an important tool to better protect TSOs and the flying public and will free up law enforcement resources for deployment in other parts of airport terminals.
“I also join AFGE’s call today for Congress to pass H.R. 4026, the Honor our Fallen TSA Officers Act, which was recently introduced by Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA). This bill would grant TSOs the public safety officer status they deserve and make families of TSOs who die in the line of duty eligible for federal death benefits, including the family of the TSO who was killed in the LAX shooting.”
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