Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Airport TSA Coming To A Subway Station Near You

Get ready to take your shoes off when getting on the subway. Well not really, but the TSA employees that demand it of travelers at airports will be coming to New York's subway stations to replace some of the NYPD officers that make random bag searches. It's bad enough that the cops are allowed to randomly (and ineffectually) stop straphangers without probable cause or reasonable suspicion.

Now it'll be even worse:

MYFOXNY.COM - EXCLUSIVE: The New York Police Department is shrinking, and the department can't hire the number of cops it would like to. Fox 5 News has learned that help is coming from security screeners at the area airports. They'll be replacing some police officers in the subway who do bag searches. But some critics say this is just another clear example that the economy has affected security.

Within the next two months, Transportation Security Administration bag screeners from Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports will be replacing most NYPD cops in the subway that screen bags for explosives.[...]

This is how it would work: About 30 TSA screeners a day will be pulled from the three area airports Monday through Friday to inspect bags at various subway locations throughout the city. At each location they'll be teamed up with one police officer instead of the two or three officers you currently see at inspection sites.

The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association is blasting the plan, saying despite the city's financial crisis the city needs to hire more cops. According to the PBA, the city has 4,000 fewer cops on the street than it did in 2001.

Hiring more cops is another issue but the idea of putting the TSA at subway entrances is a terrible idea. They're bad enough at the airport, at worst abusing travelers and at the least acting as if they really made the airports secure. There is no way thirty of these people can keep the M.T.A. secure. Their presence, like that of the NYPD's current bag searchers is an act that either makes people think they're safe or simply that they have to trade their liberties so that it appears law enforcement is doing something to combat terrorism.

Seriously, leave the TSAers at the airport and put the cops on the trains where they can actually be of some assistance.