Training for transportation screeners needs improvement, study says
Training for transportation security officers, the screeners who inspect airline passengers and baggage, needs improving, according to a report by the Homeland Security Department's inspector general.
The inspector general's office said its recommendations, "if implemented, would improve the agency's management of its screening workforce training program."
The recommendations include better documentation of the training program, creation of formal on-the-job training, use of equipment in training classrooms that is similar to equipment used at checkpoints and in checked baggage areas, and a study on the time needed for TSOs to complete required training.
The inspector general's study found that the Transportation Security Administration "may not always provide TSOs with the equipment and support they need to effectively complete required training."
It also said, "TSA does not ensure that TSOs are provided the time they need to effectively complete training requirements" and "the agency has not articulated a standard methodology to keep its training material current and relevant."
The study, completed in October, was released Tuesday by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
"In light of recent aviation security events and the new pat down process for screening passengers, training is more important than ever in both securing the aviation system and maintaining suitable privacy and customer service standards," he said. "Training is the critical lynchpin in an effective aviation security program. Without suitable training, technology and established screening processes are ineffective."
At a Senate hearing Tuesday, TSA Administrator John Pistole said TSOs are fully trained on how to use the agency's new passenger screening machines and procedures.
"I expect them to act professionally at all times and to treat all passengers with dignity and respect," Pistole told the Senate Commerce Committee. "Similarly, I ask all passengers to remember that our officers are going to keep you safe and they need your cooperation to do so. Security is a shared responsibility. During the holiday travel season, we need at all times the cooperation between TSA and the traveling public."
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Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson
| November 17, 2010; 9:20 AM ET
Categories: Agencies and Departments
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