Video: Miami employs Israeli security tactic at its airport

By Kerry Sanders Correspondent
NBC News
updated 1/31/2007 10:56:35 PM ET 2007-02-01T03:56:35

Super Bowl events in Miami are considered high-value terrorist targets by law enforcement. But at Miami International Airport, there's now a new twist on security.

"The only way we're going to make this airport 100 percent safe is that everyone that works at this airport does their job to keep it safe," says Rafi Ron with New Age Security Solutions.

Janitors are now training to look for suspicious activities, like Gloria Hernandez, one of 485 people on the airport cleaning staff. She's often in areas — like restrooms — where there are no security cameras.

Law enforcement calls it "behavior pattern recognition." Is a passenger sweating in an air-conditioned terminal? Does a traveler appear nervous, repeatedly going in and out of a restroom? It's a method developed by the former head of security at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport, and it actually recruits everybody in the airport to play a role in this war against terrorism.

Those arriving in Miami say they welcome the extra eyes and ears.

"Everybody should be a part of the whole team. Safety is America," says Jim Guertler, a passenger from Chicago.

And the American Civil Liberties Union says that unlike profiling, this does not violate civil rights. But the ACLU does have a concern: only two hours of classroom instruction for the airport employees.

"The people who will be poorly trained will fall back on their poorly preconceived notions of what a terrorist looks like," says Howard Simon of the ACLU.

Since this program began in September, 1,000 employees have been through the training. They've reported 26 suspicious cases, three of which led to arrests.

"Our crime is down more 35 percent here at Miami airport since we started this program, so it's working for us," says Lauren Stover, director of security at the airport.

At one of the busiest airports in the country, now everyone's part of the security sweep.

© 2013  Reprints


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments