LA Airport Police Back Effort To Ban Badges For Non-Sworn TSA Screeners

LOS ANGELES— Union officials for police at Los Angeles International Airport gave its support Friday for new legislation that would ban the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from allowing non-law enforcement personnel to wear metal badges.

The Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers’ Association (LAAPOA) issued the statement commending language in a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill currently under consideration by lawmakers in

Washington, which includes an amendment that prohibits funding for TSA uniforms that include badges that resemble law enforcement badges.

While TSA screening agents are not sworn officers, the agency reclassified screeners as “transportation security officers” in 2005 in order to boost morale among its ranks. In 2008, the TSA did away with the embroidered logos and provided its screeners with metal badges.

But veteran law enforcement agents like Marshall McClain, President of the LAAPOA, say bestowing the title of “officer” to TSA screening agents and giving those screeners police-styled metal badges has granted agents the outward appearance of law enforcement authority – which they do not possess.

“The main mission of TSA agents is to screen passengers and baggage at the airport,” said McClain. “These screeners have not received law enforcement training and do not perform police functions at our airports so why would we ever allow them to wear police-like badges?”

The LAAPOA also supported a decision by TSA in Jan. 2014 not to arm its officers in the wake of the Nov. 1, 2013, shooting at LAX.

The Appropriations Committee bill will go to the full House floor for a vote in the coming weeks.

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