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TSA Calls for Armed Law Enforcement at Security Checkpoints

The agency recommended Wednesday that airports post armed law enforcement officers at security checkpoints and ticket counters during peak hours.

LOS ANGELES — The Transportation Security Administration recommended Wednesday that armed law enforcement officers be posted at security checkpoints and ticket counters during peak hours in the aftermath of last year's fatal shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.

The 25-page report to Congress obtained by The Associated Press makes 14 recommendations that do not carry a price tag and are somewhat dependent on local authorities who provide airport security.

TSA conducted the review of nearly 450 airports nationwide after Officer Gerardo Hernandez was shot and killed Nov. 1. Two officers and a passenger were wounded. Paul Ciancia, 24, a Pennsville, N.J. native, has pleaded not guilty to 11 federal charges, including murder of a federal officer.

Report recommendations include requiring TSA employees, who are unarmed, train for a shooting incident. It specifically discarded the notion of creating an armed unit of TSA officers.

The review found most TSA officers are concerned for their safety and want better security.

TSA Administrator John Pistole has said he doesn't believe more guns at checkpoints are the solution, but the union representing 45,000 TSA officers said the recommendations strengthen their position to arm some officers.

The TSA also recommended installing more panic alarms, testing them weekly, and having them linked to security cameras.

The report recommends airport security plans state how long it should take police to get to a security checkpoint when there isn't an officer stationed there. The review discovered that 71 airports without officers stationed at checkpoints didn't have a required response time.

It also recommends airports conduct twice yearly active shooter training and exercises and that TSA extend deployment of special teams of air marshals, baggage inspectors and others who conduct random security sweeps.

A congressional field hearing is scheduled Friday in Los Angeles to discuss the review.

— The Associated Press