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The TSA is considering a policy change that would allow airport security screeners to carry cellphones so they can quickly call for help in an emergency.
The proposal is part of an ongoing review of the response to a November shooting at the Los Angeles International Airport that left a TSA officer dead, according to AP.
In the November shooting, TSA officers — who are unarmed — fled the screening area without hitting a panic button or using a landline to call for help. It took a call from an airline contractor to a police dispatcher, who then alerted officers over the radio — a lag of nearly a minute and a half, AP said.
Minutes before a gunman opened fire in November, the two armed officers assigned to the area left for breaks without informing a dispatcher as required, AP said.
At LAX, armed police officers are assigned to each terminal and allowed to roam the vast expanses looking for suspicious people and items, AP said. When the Nov. 1 shooting started, the two law enforcement officials say one of the armed officers assigned to Terminal 3 was at or just outside an adjacent terminal. One of the officials said the officer was on a bathroom break while the other officer was in a vehicle on the tarmac outside Terminal 3, headed for a meal break.
Departmental procedures require that officers notify a dispatcher before going on break and leaving their patrol area in order to ensure supervisors are aware of their absence and, if necessary, a relief unit can be brought in to cover their area, according to the AP report.
According to investigators, Ciancia arrived at the airport with the intention of killing TSA workers. Authorities have said Ciancia had a grudge against the agency, but they have not indicated what prompted it.