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Tag: screening

TSA Employees Continue to Face Serious Coronavirus Risks at Nation’s Airports

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

No federal agency has been more impacted by the coronavirus than the TSA.

As of Monday, 780 TSA employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and five have died.

Now that coronavirus cases are increasing in at least 36 states, the TSA is trying to provide more training and protective gear to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to airport employees and travelers.

Jay Brainard, the top TSA official in Kansas, has reported that supervisors were prevented from providing screeners with stockpiled N95 masks in March, when it was difficult to buy the respirators. He also said the TSA failed to adequately train employees to deal with the coronavirus.

It’s a difficult job because security requires person-to-person contact, and that’s how the virus spreads.

Congress is asking for more information on the safety protocols to keep employee safe. In a June 16 letter to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Homeland Security, called on more effective protocols.

“Given that COVID-19 disproportionately affects certain demographics, any such protocols must be designed to guard against passengers from certain racial or ethnic minorities being targeted for screening in a discriminatory fashion,” Thompson wrote.

TSA to Require Employees to Wear Facial Coverings Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The TSA said Thursday it will begin requiring employees to wear “facial protection” at screening checkpoints, more than two months after the pandemic reached the U.S.

The decision comes after 534 TSA employees have tested positive for the coronavirus and six have died, as of Thursday.

“TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process,” the TSA said in a statement.

The decision to require masks is “an additional measure to help minimize spread of COVID-19 and help raise the overall health and safety level inside the airport environment,” the TSA said.

“TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process.” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said.

TSA Begins Using More Floppy-Ear Dogs for Airport Screenings to Avoid Scaring Children

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Pointy-ear dogs are sometimes scaring airline passengers, especially children, so the TSA is looking for more floppy-ear canines to engage with people in airports.

Turns out, dogs with droopy ears are less frightening to children, an internal TSA review found, The Washington Examiner reports.

“We find the passenger acceptance of floppy ear dogs is just better. It presents just a little bit less of a concern,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “Doesn’t scare children.”

The TSA uses about 1,200 dogs to screen passengers and luggage. About 80% have droopy ears, while the rest have cone-snapped ears, such as the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois..

The floppy-ear dogs tend to be  Labrador Retrievers, German Short-haired Pointers, Wirehaired Pointers, Vizslas, and Golden Retrievers.

TSA Warns Local Police about More Invasive Physical Pat-Downs at Airports

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The TSA is beginning to conduct more invasive physical pat-downs at airports nationwide, but it’s not entirely clear what that will entail.

But the agency informed local police of the new procedures because of suspicions that passengers will complain about “abnormal” federal frisking, Bloomberg reports.

Bloomberg wrote:

The decision to alert local and airport police raises a question of just how intimate the agency’s employees may get. On its website, the TSA says employees “use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body. In limited cases, additional screening involving a sensitive area pat-down with the front of the hand may be needed to determine that a threat does not exist.”

Now, security screeners will use the front of their hands on a passenger in a private screening area if one of the prior screening methods indicates the presence of explosives, according to a “security notice” Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) sent its U.S. members following a March 1 conference call with TSA officials

“Due to this change, TSA asked FSDs [field security directors] to contact airport law enforcement and brief them on the procedures in case they are notified that a passenger believes a [TSA employee] has subjected them to an abnormal screening practice,” ACI wrote.

TSA Testing New Way to Speed Up Airport Lines, Improve Security

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The TSA is researching ways to speed up airport lines and improve security.

CBS News reports the TSA is testing computer-tomography – or CT – scanners at a checkpoint in the Phoenix airpot.

The technology would be used to inspect carry-on bags. TSA uses CT scanners for checked baggage.

The scanners generate 3-D images, which are analyzed by computers.

With the technology, screeners would not need to examine X-ray images of every bag.

Other Stories of Interest

Airport Security Criticized for Handling of 10-year-old Girl Over a Juice Box

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, airport security has naturally been cautious and wants to ensure no weapons get on airplanes.

But a juice box?

TSA became suspicious when they found a Capris Sun drink that was mistakingly left in a bag at security.

The 10-year-old who had the was patted down for two minutes after being flagged for extra screening.

The father caught the pat-down on video.

TSA declined to comment.

Other Stories of Interest

Video: Homeland Security Chief Attempts to Alleviate Fears of Screening Process for Refugees

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson released a video that explains the screening process for refugees in an attempt to quell fears stoked by Republicans.

“I understand the anxiety that many Americans are feeling right now,” wrote Sec. Johnson in an email introducing the video. “And as Secretary of Homeland Security, I share with President Obama the top priority of keeping the American people safe. So let me be clear about what this process of vetting and resettling refugees looks like.

“It’s important to remember, we’re focused on admitting the most vulnerable Syrians — this means mostly women, children and families. Second, anyone who applies for and is approved for refugee status in the United States, including Syrians, must first go through a rigorous security screening process.”

TSA Agent on Leave After Patting Down Ebola Patient at Cleveland Airport

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A TSA agent who patted down an Ebola patient at a Cleveland airport is on paid leave as a precaution, 19 Action News reports.

The agency said the agent performed a routine-pat-down of Amber Vinson at Hopkins Airport.

Vinson is the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S.

“Out of an abundance of caution, a Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Officer who conducted a routine pat-down of a traveler later reported to be infected with Ebola consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” the TSA said. “The employee is not reporting any symptoms. The employee was instructed by CDC to self-monitor over the next few days, as a precautionary measure. TSA also has assigned its chief medical officer to our employee to provide additional support.

No Cleveland TSA officer came in direct contact with the infected traveler, as all pat-downs are completed while employees are wearing disposable medical gloves.”

Other Stories of Interest