Issue Date: 05/12/2011
Contact: Albert Rodriguez
PEOPLE-SCREENING EXPLOSIVES DETECTION CANINES INTRODUCED AT LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Review and Recommendation from Los Angeles Results
In First-Ever Such Program at a U.S. Airport
(Los Angeles, California – May 12, 2011) Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa was joined today by City Councilmember Janice Hahn, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Charlie Beck and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Police Chief George R. Centeno to announce the addition of Explosives Detection Personnel Screening Canines at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The new K-9s are specifically trained to detect a plume of air emitting from a person, whether the person is moving or stationary. This is the first such program at a U.S. airport.
At a press conference at LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal, Mayor Villaraigosa said, “The City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles World Airports Police will continue to take a leadership role in policing our airports and protecting the people of Los Angeles, while adhering to the principles of constitutional policing.”
The new K-9 program results from a joint LAPD-LAWA review ordered by Mayor Villaraigosa of ways to further strengthen security at LAX following the failed attempt by terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.
The joint review was also consistent with President Barack Obama’s own White House-led review, which mandated to aggressively pursue enhanced screening technology, protocols, and procedures, especially in regard to aviation and other transportation sectors.
“One of the areas that we examined was our explosive detection canine program,” said LAPD Chief Beck. “We reported our findings to Mayor Villaraigosa, who then recommended to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to review its training protocols for the National Explosive Detection Canine Training Program to allow canine teams to discreetly screen passengers for Human Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (HBIED). Chief Beck added that the combined number of LAPD and LAWA explosive detection canines at LAX is the largest program at an individual U.S. airport.
“With the wide range of security measures already in place at LAX, the new canine program enhances our ability to maintain a safe environment for the traveling public and adds another layer of protection to help combat potential acts of terrorism," said Airport Police Chief Centeno.
The mayor also announced that no City funds were used to pay for this important, new security initiative. The Los Angeles Police Foundation funded the training of the LAPD K-9 units of dog plus police-officer handler and Los Angeles World Airports, a proprietary agency that receives no funding from the City, funded the LAX K-9 teams.
Officials also reminded everyone of the city’s iWATCH program, which encourages the general public to report suspicious activity to law enforcement by calling 1-877-A-THREAT (1-877-284-7328) or logging onto http://www.iwatchla.org/ to file a report.