WILLIAMSTOWN - On Tuesday, Transportation Security Administration spokesman Kawika Riley discussed new security procedures planned for the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport.
According to Riley, a new program will give members of the community access to pre-screenings and the ability for younger passengers to have less of a wait when going through airport security.
The program is not yet in place at the local airport because it is being tested at larger airports first.
Photo by Mandi Cardosi
Security was the topic of discussion at Tuesday’s meeting at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport.
"TSA pre-check program provides expedited screening for known and trusted populations that we are able to look into more prior to their arriving at the checkpoint," Riley said.
Passengers under 12 years old may be able to keep their belt, jacket, shoes, liquids and laptops with them or in their bags while going through more airport checkpoints, Riley said.
Riley visited airports on his way through the Mid-Atlantic region he covers on behalf of Homeland Security. He also stopped in Morgantown, Clarksburg and was on his way to Beckley for a TSA awareness event.
Airport Manager Terry Moore said the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport has four commercial flights a day and there are 11 TSA officers at the Wood County location.
Moore stressed the importance of having a representative such as Riley speak on behalf of TSA. The small size of the airport forces it to make money through rental space, hangars and fuel, Moore said.
However, residents may believe because of the size of the local airport the federal rules and guidelines on safety do not apply, Moore said. This is not the case, he noted.
"The rules still apply; you need to be an hour early to your flight because our TSA officers are also the checkpoint officers," Moore said.
Travelers using the regional airports might find new technologies helpful on their next trip, Riley said.
These include the new smart phone app, available to iPhone and Android users, called myTSA, and the TSA website that provides information on prohibited items on airplanes and the accommodations for the special needs of young children and medical needs of passengers, Riley said.
These are ways the TSA is trying to use technology to help people make decisions about going through the airport checkpoint, Riley said.
These precautions can help passengers on issues at the baggage claim and checkpoints, and can help ensure the safety of passengers on the flight, he said.
"Last year alone we caught 1,300 firearms at (airport) checkpoints across the nation," Riley said. "We're continuing to see those kinds of numbers this year."
"Technology is important but it also comes with having a continually improving workforce," Riley said.
Riley works with airports in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. Riley said he felt comfortable at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport.
"To be honest I feel right at home and that's just not because of the warm welcome from our partners," said Riley. "This is also the kind of airport I feel at home in from growing up in Hawaii."