begin airport baggage
Express Staff Writer
of a nationwide mandate, baggage-screening responsibilities at Friedman
Memorial Airport were taken over by the federal government Monday.
temporary team of about 20 Transportation Security Administration
employees, most from Idaho Falls, will be on duty until a permanent team
takes over in two to three weeks, said the group’s supervisor, Parris
Sepe. After completing their federal training, the permanent team will
be composed mostly of the Skywest employees who had been doing baggage
screening at the airport. Sepe said eight or nine screeners will be on
duty at a time, about the same as before.
screening at the Twin Falls airport will come under federal purview
effort to standardize screening procedures nationwide, the Aviation and
Transportation Security Act requires baggage screening at every U.S.
airport to be under federal control by Nov. 19.
will meet that deadline," Sepe said. "We’re getting into the
small- and medium-sized airports at about 100 (airports) per week."
carry-on luggage is now being screened at Friedman and other airports.
However, the TSA has a deadline of Dec. 31 to be screening all checked
baggage. Sepe said that means X-ray machines will be installed for that
purpose at large airports, though smaller airports such as Friedman will
probably use only explosive detectors. He said some luggage would also
be inspected by hand.
the TSA has received 1.5 million applications for baggage screening
screeners have intercepted more than 3 million prohibited items,
including 800 guns, from boarding passengers since they began work last
spring. However, Sepe said, there is no evidence that any of those items
were intended to be used for a terrorist act.
security at Friedman remains under the jurisdiction of the Hailey Police
Department. Federal law requires an officer to be on duty whenever
passengers are boarding and screening is taking place.