Region’s airports staffed for new security regulations

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(Host) The Transportation Security Administration has staffed all of the region’s commercial airports to provide better screening of passengers. The federal security officers have replaced a private guard force that was criticized for being inattentive and poorly trained.

Nigel Spackman says the new agency came to the Burlington International airport in August. The officers began work at the Rutland and Lebanon, New Hampshire airports last week. Spackman says about half the workers were previously employed by private security firms at the airports:

(Spackman) “We took those individuals that are qualified and are U.S. citizens and more able to meet the service standards that were required. And we took them from the screening companies and went outside also and took a number of people that were from security companies, the police, the military to meet the standards that we’ve set.”

(Host) Spackman says passengers shouldn’t notice much difference at the airport

(Spackman) “They’ll certainly see uniformed personnel, but in terms of what they actually see as to what’s being done, they probably won’t see a great deal. They’ll be very little impact on the passengers themselves. But they will undergo a much more stringent security check, but most of it is actually – they’re unaware of it going on. They’ll be wanded, their bags will be screened. We are putting in explosive trace detection units in at the ticket counters and at the screening checkpoints.”

(Host) The TSA official says passengers can take some simple steps, such as removing all metal objects from their pockets, to go through the checkpoints quickly. Spackman says that during the holiday season people should plan to wrap their gifts when they arrive, because they may be asked to unwrap gifts at airport security.

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