Local safety and government officials met Wednesday for the third roundtable on airport security and policy hosted by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz at her district office in Sunrise.
Participants spent two hours discussing the weak links in airport security put in evidence by recent reports on the Jan. 6 shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and what can be done to rectify them.
Reports released by the Broward Sheriff's Office two weeks ago revealed that lack of preparation added to the chaos during the shooting. Airport workers did not know what to do. They simply weren’t trained for it, according to the investigators.
In a press conference after the meeting, Wasserman Schultz said that in the aftermath of the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting there are five key priorities on her list: training, communication, airport operation center, Run-Hide-Fight and unified command.
“Each of them, frankly, have short, mid-range and long-term policy decisions that have to be made to them. Some are more the responsibility of the federal government,” said Wasserman Schultz.
Airport Operation Center policies and the Run-Hide-Fight strategy involve federal regulations, and in order to continue assuring airport safety, these too need to change.
Wasserman Schultz said that beyond airport regulations, individual airline policies need to be revised. She is currently working with Congress to change airport firearms policy and believes more airlines should follow Delta’s actions by revising their firearms policies.
Those attending the meeting included Fort Lauderdale Airport Director Mark Gale, Broward County Vice-Mayor Tim Ryan, Broward County Emergency Manager Miguel Ascarrunz, among others.
Although all areas are being given priority, Gale said his primary concern is the coordination of resources.
“There was no shortage of law enforcement that day. There was transportation, there was a variety of other resources at hand. What we need to focus on is how do we coordinate the massive amounts of resources that responded to the airport that day,” said Gale.
Wasserman Schultz says the next step is to make sure changes can be made and to design a plan for how this should be done.