A bill that would give Los Angeles Airport Police the same authority as other local police agencies has been passed by the state Assembly.
Assemblyman Steve Bradford (D-Westchester) reintroduced Assembly Bill (AB) 128, which would expand the law enforcement powers of the police agency that patrols four Southern California airports, including Los Angeles International Airport.
Under the bill, Airport Police would be reclassified from California Penal Code 830.33(d) to 830.1 status, a recommendation by the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). The Los Angeles Police Department, which operates out of a substation at LAX, is currently classified as an 830.1 agency, identifying them as peace officers.
With the current classification airport police officers lack the legal authority to perform rather routine duties such as seizing firearms at the scene of a domestic violence case, making arrests in some incidents, as well as other actions that could impact airport security, Bradford said. In some emergencies, airport police may have to call LAPD for assistance with such functions, Bradford notes.
“Airport police officers and LAPD train together because they face the same risks and challenges,” Bradford said. “There is no reason they should not have all the tools available to get the job done.”
The assemblyman continued, “As we modernize LAX with new technologies, we must also ensure that it has a modern police force to protect it, and the millions of people who live near, work at, or visit LAX.”
AB 128 has received the support of Westchester neighborhood groups, Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, and Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti. The bill must next be approved by the state Senate to be enacted.