Congresswoman Waters Applauds House Approval of Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) applauded the House of Representative’s final approval of H.R. 720, the Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act. H.R. 720 was introduced in response to the November 1, 2013, shooting incident at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which took the life of Gerardo Hernandez, a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer who was killed in the line of duty. The House approved the bill today by voice vote following the Senate’s passage of the bill, and thus cleared the bill for the President’s signature. LAX is located in Congresswoman Waters’ congressional district.
“I applaud my colleagues for approving this bill to improve security standards at our nation’s airports,” said Congresswoman Waters. “The security failures at LAX, which were tragically revealed during the shooting, are simply unacceptable. Congress must make certain they are never repeated.”
Reports on the LAX shooting incident, released separately by TSA and Los Angeles World Airports, the operator of LAX, revealed a number of problems that interfered with incident response efforts. For example, emergency phones and panic buttons at LAX were not in good working order, and problems in coordination between various police and fire departments resulted in multiple command posts at different locations that did not unify for 45 minutes.
H.R. 720 requires the Department of Homeland Security to conduct outreach to airports to verify that they have in place plans to respond to security incidents, including active shooter incidents, acts of terrorism, and incidents that target passenger-screening checkpoints. Such plans may include a plan for establishing unified command, a schedule for testing of communications equipment used to receive emergency calls, a plan to communicate with travelers and other persons in the airport, and a schedule of training for airport police, firefighters, medical personnel, and other relevant stakeholders.
“The safety and security of our nation’s airports and all of the workers and travelers who pass through them is of paramount importance. The Department of Homeland Security must take action to make certain that airports like LAX have a state-of-the-art emergency response system,” concluded Congresswoman Waters.