Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has appointed a “blue ribbon” panel to conduct a comprehensive security review at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and recommend improvements.

The 26-member panel will perform a “top-to-bottom” security review, and then provide a variety of recommendations related to homeland security/counterterrorism, law enforcement, fire, emergency management, and the available resources for safety enhancements, a spokesperson for the mayor said.

“This panel will have full authority to review and inspect all aspects of security at LAX, which is a top terrorist target in the nation,” said Villaraigosa. “We have continually made improvements to security at LAX, but we must ensure our facility and protocols remain state of the art to prevent and disrupt potential threats.”

The panel includes experts from diverse fields including homeland security, law enforcement, academia, anti-terrorism, technology, and emergency management. It will be chaired by Lourdes Baird, a retired federal judge.

“The mayor has brought together an extremely impressive list of some of the best minds on security for the LAX blue ribbon panel,” said City Councilman Greig Smith, who will serve as the council’s representative on the panel. “I am confident that this group of experts will bring forth strong recommendations so that we can make LAX thesafest airport in the country.”

The creation of the security panel comes after the leader of an airport law enforcement group expressed concerns regarding possible airport safety vulnerabilities earlier this summer.

“This blue ribbon commission couldn’t come at a better time. Every day we discover new threats to the security of the traveling public, whether through breaches in our cargo, or passenger screening,” saidCouncilwoman Janice Hahn. “Security is our number one priority, and I welcome the findings and recommendations of the blue ribbon commission.”

Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey, added, “We strive to deliver the best safety and security at LAX, as demonstrated by our continual investment in law enforcement personnel and technology. We welcome the panel’s observations and suggestions.”

In addition to the involvement of law enforcement professionals, security experts from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport will return for their third visit to LAX to advise the panel. The Israeli airport safety experts previously conducted a study of LAX’s security measures in 2008 and recommended areas of improvement.

The blue ribbon panel is expected to convene meetings later this month and plans to provide a summary of its findings by the spring.

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