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"LAX airport police officers' union claims unfair treatment"
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
LAX airport police officers' union claims unfair treatment
By Art Marroquin
The Inland Valley (CA) Daily Bulletin
Union leaders representing the officers who patrol Los Angeles International
Airport have filed a claim asserting the Police Department's managers are
treating them unfairly for pointing out alleged security flaws.
The union also represents officers at L.A./Ontario International Airport as
well as the Van Nuys airport.
In the claim filed Friday with the Los Angeles City Clerk's Office, union
leaders said they are barred from addressing rank-and-file airport police
officers during roll-call meetings.
Additionally, supervisors and managers within the airport Police Department
have made "numerous disparaging remarks" about the leaders of the Los
Angeles Airport Police Officers Association, they say.
"We're at the end of our rope," said Marshall McClain, president of the
"I think we're being targeted for being whistle-blowers and bringing
attention to the serious safety problems at the airport," McClain said.
"We're spending $4 billion on improving the terminals, but public safety
issues are not being addressed in a timely manner."
In their claim, LAAPOA noted that seven of the union's 10 board members are
the subject of an internal investigation or have a pending grievance with
management, which "further demonstrates the hostility that defendants direct
at the association."
The claim also cites alleged problems encountered by four airport police
officers who claimed that their service on the union's board led to unwanted
reassignments in the department or a loss of preferred shifts.
"Los Angeles World Airports is in receipt of a proposed claim threatened to
be filed by the Los Angeles Airport Police Officers Association and will
review their concerns accordingly," said Sgt. Belinda Nettles, a spokeswoman
for the airport Police Department.
Two years ago, McClain claimed that LAX was "more vulnerable to a terrorist
attack than at any time since 9-11" due to budget and staffing cuts to the
airport Police Department.
The statement prompted Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to assemble a
"blue-ribbon" panel of security and aviation experts, which later found that
LAX's safety procedures were heightened.
More recently, McClain said the current airport police headquarters needs to
be refurbished and that aging squad cars should be replaced.
An officer at the Ontario airport suffered carbon monoxide poisoning earlier
this year because of an exhaust leak in one of the old patrol vehicles,
"We have cars with cracked seat belts and steering wheels are falling
apart," McClain said. "This is a serious safety issue for our officers."
Additionally, union leaders have unsuccessfully lobbied state lawmakers over
the past two years to grant airport police officers additional duties that
would put them on par with LAPD officers.
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