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Airport winds down 'public service officer' team

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The last of what had been about 100 civilians who helped provide security at Indianapolis International Airport after the 2001 terrorist attacks have had their jobs eliminated.

Severance agreements were struck with 38 public service officers, according to documents recently presented to the Indianapolis Airport Authority board.

The so-called PSOs provided security in such places as gate entry and exit points and helped manage curbside traffic flow. The officers were paid, on average, about $13.50 per hour.

The need for PSOs diminished after the late-2008 opening of the new passenger terminal, which was designed with post-911 security needs in mind. The new terminal has fewer checkpoints, more video surveillance and other, unspecified security technologies.

Some of the PSO duties will now be handled by airport police. The transition allowed the authority “to further strengthen its security procedures in close coordination between the Airport Police Department, Securitas Security USA, the TSA and other enforcement agencies,” said airport spokesman Carlo Bertolini. “Safety and security remain the highest priority.”

The affected PSOs were offered regional jobs with Securitas, according to the authority.

Meanwhile, the authority said it has boosted the capabilities of a volunteer emergency response team that assists the airport’s first responders. A so-called community emergency response team, or CERT, has been certified by the state’s Department of Homeland Security. The authority’s CERT team includes staff carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers and heavy equipment operators.

The CERT team has already helped airport police and fire personnel during winter storms and excessive heat emergencies. The CERT staff received training in disaster fire suppression and medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster simulation and psychology.

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