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Legislators revisit LAX shooting, discuss security gaps

Members of the House transportation security subcommittee held a hearing on Friday, March 28, 2014, at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to revisit the shooting that took place last year and discuss similar security gaps at airports across the nation. According to the Associated Press, the lawmakers were concerned with the response and preparedness of airport and security officials.

The committee reviewed two reports released this week. Each report is critical of the airports emergency preparedness and actual response to the active shooter. The AP heard from US Representative Richard Hudson from North Carolina (R), who pointed out the inability of federal and local officials to coordinate during an emergency situation, also saying,

Weaknesses I suspect in other airports across the country."

A March 26 report from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) entitled Enhancing TSA Officer Safety and Security assessed security at nearly 450 airports in the US, with similarities across the nation. Key points of this report call for the following:

  • Increased presence of the TSA 'Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response' (VIPR) teams at airports
  • Active shooter training that is better than their 'Run, Hide, Fight' optional web-base course for TSA officers
  • Improved emergency response, communication procedures, and employ technology at airports
  • Automate the notification of TSA's own Federal Air Marshals who are flying into or departing an airport during an incident

The second report, 'Active Shooter Incident and Resulting Airport Disruption,' reviewed airport operations and response of the Los Angeles World Airports. Despite re-defining emergency preparedness policy and doctrine from DHS Federal Emergency Management Agency, the airport's report also echoed TSA's concern for increased training and deployment of technology. They were critical of the lack of coordination and seek to improve overall response.

Prior to the hearing, the lawmakers retraced the footsteps the shooter took on November 1, 2013. Then, they met with the widow of Officer Gerardo Hernandez, in the attack which was targeted at Transportation and Security Administration officers.

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