After the basic security training has finished, there’s a lot more work to be done. Carroll McCormick reports.
In terms of sheer numbers of people involved, the biggest security training task for United States airports is for cardholders with access to Secure Identification Display Areas (SIDA). In Canada it is the training for use of Restricted Area Identification Cards (RAIC). People responsible for security training programmes believe Computer Based Training (CBT) offers advantages for initial and recurrent training for SIDA and RAIC.
At the Kelowna International airport in British Columbia, Canada, staff, police and tenants get general awareness training and learn what their responsibilities are when they get their RAIC cards. New badge holders learn from the pass office clerk where they can and cannot go and the rules that have to be followed. To streamline this, the airport is researching the use of CBT. This is the plan, says Neil Drachenberg, Kelowna’s Manager – Airport Safety, Security & Emergency Preparedness. “When people come in and apply for an RAIC card, they will get a personal identification number code and be responsible for completing a roughly 20-minute on-line security awareness module. The CBT system will advise the airport by email when the individual has completed the on-line training, and a record will go in their file. Vancouver did this with CBT in other applications and has had great success.”
Recurrent training for airport representatives who sign badge applications is a fairly recent requirement and is important for the effectiveness of the layered approach to airport security. “There are many new requirements for airport operators and badge holders. Airport security programmes continue to evolve and change with new threats,” says Mark Crosby, Chief of Public Safety and Security, Portland International Airport, where 10,000 tenants, contractors, etc, and 350 Port employees carry badges. “Our best eyes and ears for security are the badge holders. In order to keep that fresh in their minds, we have to retrain them. Computer-based training, which has come about primarily in the last seven years, is important. In the airport industry after 9/11 there was an effort by aviation specialist companies to create better training, including CBT that includes videos for your airport and makes it real.”
At the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport about 11,000 of the 15,000 people with security badges get SIDA training. “We are developing a computer-based training programme, called a Learning Management System for recurrent SIDA training. It should be available in the third quarter of 2010. Once in place, every time a cardholder’s badge is renewed he or she will be required to complete a module to refresh them on the SIDA rules. It will be very economical for us,” explains Tim Anderson, Deputy Executive Director for operations, the Minneapolis-St Paul Airport Police, a department with 108 officers.
CBT offers consistency, convenience and frees up training staff for other tasks. “We have taken advantage of CBT, such as for teaching report writing. I have a civilian who manages my administrative service division and we are always looking for CBT courses,” says Paul Mason, the Chief of Lambert-St Louis International Airport Police Department.
Mason is also the president of the Airport Law Enforcement Agencies Network (ALEAN), a non-profit organisation formed in 1990 that works as an information-sharing network. Helping airports, especially those with fewer resources, to access cost-effective training became a recent mandate of ALEAN. “One of the most important issues ALEAN is working on today is the development and economical delivery of critical training programmes for airport police agencies,” according to its website.
“After the US-caused global economic meltdown,” Mason explains: “ALEAN decided to put an emphasis on exporting training to airports. We want to get information out to the many airports that, in these economic times, do not have the funding to send people to training classes.” Airport police department officers with specialty skills are, with the blessing of their chiefs, working to prepare DVD-based CBT programmes for their own departments and for other airport police departments. “There is a training committee actively working on its first projects,” Mason says.
In the United States, the Code of Federal Regulations – Title 49: Transportation, Part 1542.213, sets out the requirements for training personnel who need access to SIDA parts of airports. In Canada it is Section 19 of the Aerodrome Security Measures. These are the driving forces and points of departure for airport security training, many types of which vary greatly, depending on the size of the airport, location, financial resources and on-site expertise.
In the years that Neil Drachenberg has been at Kelowna, he has seen considerable evolution in security training. “One to two days training has evolved to five to six. There are group training sessions and more auditing of individual competence. The focus is on continuous training and keeping people fresh – keeping their skills up. If an individual does not know something, it is passed onto their supervisor, who corrects that weakness in their training.”
Drachenberg does not use outside security trainers, but through a Canadian Airports Council secure website called The Link, he and his contemporaries at other airports share questions and answers about security and training. “We are a very active group. The website has become such a powerful tool because it unites us in a common front. Some training is facility driven and The Link gives me a pan-Canadian view. It has been the biggest change for me in my approach to security training. I am not isolated any more. There are also efficiencies; for example, I can pose questions, get feedback from the forum and then tell my security contractor how to do something, and then set up the process.”
Mason reports that smaller US airports take similar advantage of ALEAN for fielding training questions. “I hear this from other police department chiefs. I have been president of ALEAN for two years and I have tried to stress its importance to small airports.”
Drachenberg contracts his airport’s security to The Commissionaires, of which 34 of its members work at Kelowna. Any new Commissionaire coming to the airport will have already taken a Basic Security Training course. This is a requirement under the British Columbia Security Services regulations for anyone working in security-related positions. Once on site they complete a three-day orientation/training session. It includes learning how to patrol, to ensure safety and security, how to respond to security alarms and breaches, and bylaw training in enforcing municipal parking laws. The Commissionaires have a regional trainer and an internal trainer on site; Drachenberg and airport duty managers audit their work.
Security training is a moving target; there are always new opportunities and responsibilities. For example, The Commissionaires recently created a programme called Service Advantage, a one-day course that focuses on: “delivering a superior customer experience.” Their trainers have been coming to Kelowna to teach the course to its security personnel. “There are special elements in it that deal with security; for example, how to deal with upset passengers. We had an incident a while ago where a commissionaire was bumped by an aggressive driver. We want to use this training as a way to lower the risk, by giving security staff the tools to deal with unusual situations such as these.”
Anderson has seen big changes since 9/11 in the training requirements for his officers. “The depth and breadth of the information, of what we expect of our officers, is hugely different from what we expected ten years ago. For example, behavioural training – learning to become more aware of suspicious behaviour – began about five years ago. All of our officers have gone through that training. Then there is understanding blood-borne pathogens and weapons of mass destruction. The list goes on. As new incidents occur we wind up being forced into new training opportunities. Our officers know that threats exist, and they are interested in building skills and staying sharp.”
The Lambert-St Louis airport police department has 88 commissioned officers, 14 civilians and a contract security guard force that does about 5,000 hours a week. Mason runs a full-service police department – the fifth-largest in the St Louis area. Aside from Transportation Security Administration (TSA)-mandated training, such as tabletop security exercises, his shop is continually assessing new security issues and the training required to prepare his men and women. “We develop training here based on the developing situation and from sharing intelligence with other airport police chiefs. For example, the threat of people firing guns in the terminal has become a major concern in the States, because of incidents in various places in the US,” Mason, says.
Like many airports, Mason uses a mix of in-house and outside training. “I probably have someone in training at least four days a week, sometimes more; for example, interview and interrogation courses for my detectives. I have two firearms instructors going right now to a 60-hour firearms class.” Mason has also brought in an Israeli firm to teach behaviour detection training.
At Portland, Mark Crosby is in the unique position of overseeing both airport and seaport security. He explains some of the advantages: “The principles of post 9/11 seaport regulations are similar to the aviation regulations. My airport and seaport security managers assess each other’s security programmes and have been able to point things out to each other that enhance them.”
Crosby and his staff have a lot of experience and a great depth of security knowledge. “We feel that we have strong expertise on our staff. People here have good dialogues with other airports, seaports and their respective trade associations for learning best practices. What we like to do in designing our security training is take best practices and key principles and tailor our training to Portland; for example, how access control works here. We get input on designing our curriculum from our key stakeholders, airlines, key airport managers, TSA and concessions. We then incorporate this feedback into the security training questions and CBT videos.
“We modify our training to adapt to constantly changing regulations or the changing airport environment; for example, changes to the physical structure of the airport. The protocols for the employees working in airports also change, such as random screening of them, and more recurrent training. Even I get retrained every two years.”
Who says crime does not pay? Along with three nearby cities, the Metropolitan Airports Commission co-owns South Metro Public Safety Training Facility. The Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport paid for its share of the facility with approximately US$800,000 of forfeiture money, proceeds from crime, that is.
In operation since 2000, the facility, which includes rifle and handgun firing ranges, is used to train police and fire fighters. “This training facility has been very helpful for agencies’ police departments for multiple training opportunities beyond just firearms training,” says Tim Anderson, the airport’s Deputy Executive Director for Operations. While a lot of airport security training is done on-airport, the facility has hosted guest lecturers, and the Minneapolis-St Paul Airport Police training officer co-ordinate training opportunities with the director of the facility.
The airport police department officers have used the facility for behavioural detection training, including a hands-on component on how to deal with a person wearing a suicide vest. Other hands-on training includes the use of stun guns, aerosol (pepper spray) training and regular defensive tactics. Outside experts certified in specific areas, are often hired to come in and train officers. “We even brought in an expert from the outside who described the 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis in the Russian Federation,” Anderson says.
After the basic security training has finished, there’s a lot more work to be done. Carroll McCormick reports.