Officials with Iowa’s eight commercial airports are trying to alleviate any concerns customers might have with an increased security presence. Jay Brainard is Iowa’s Federal Security Director for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). He says the number of security officers at the airports remain the same, but they’ve recently become more visible.
“One of the things we want to do is inspire confidence in the traveling public,” Brainard said. “We want people to know we’re front and center. We’re here for the safety of the traveling public and we want people to know we’re out doing this.” The effort involves a partnership between the TSA and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Brainard says officers are conducting operations that go beyond bag screening.
Recently, the security initiative helped officers identify a suspicious individual at the airport in Cedar Rapids. “He was found to be in possession of four commercial drivers licenses, which is highly unusual, and some 20 credit cards with different names,” Brainard said. “He also had in his possession military orders showing him on deployment in Afghanistan. The problem is he wasn’t ever in the military. So, it’s those kinds of contacts, things like that…those are the things we’re interested in.”
Brainard says 200 TSA inspectors and bomb appraisal officers are working with local authorities on security detail at airports in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Burlington, Sioux City, Mason City, Fort Dodge and Dubuque.