One year after a gunman shot and killed a TSA officer and wounded three other people at Los Angeles International Airport, the union that represents the facility's police officers and firefighters said few safety improvements have been made and that the likelihood of a similar incident is high.
"No other airport in this country has split policing like LAX's dangerously disjointed model of having" airport police supplemented by LAPD officers, the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association said Thursday in a new release.
After 23-year-old Paul Ciancia, the shooter in the November 2013 shooting, was apprehended, three chains of command were established; they were later merged into a unified command "but chaos ensued," the release said, adding that a subsequent report commissioned by airport officials questioned the Los Angeles Police Department's response to the shooting.
Ciancia, who was allegedly carrying a note that said he wanted to kill Transportation Security Administration agents, is scheduled to stand trial in December.
The report noted that police resources at the airport, the nation's third-largest, are underfunded — including the LAXPD's incident command post vehicle, which the union described as "woefully inadequate." The vehicle was stocked with only basic supplies and lacked access to closed-circuit television feeds and aerial video, the union said.
Airport police said they have repeatedly requested an upgrade to the vehicle, and in response have been informed that a modern mobile command center could not be purchased due to funding restrictions.
LAX officials disputed the union's assertions regarding safety protocols at the airport.
"Despite the union claims, much has been done to improve security and emergency preparedness and response," Mary Grady, an LAX spokeswoman, said in an email Thursday.