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LAX has spent more than $500 million on security since 9/11

September 7, 2011 |  2:37 pm

AUGUST 30, 2011-A TSA agent checks an id under a Fraud Fighter machine in Terminal 1 at LAX. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

Since 9/11, more than $500 million has been spent to bolster security at Los Angeles International Airport, which has been identified as one of the top potential targets in the state for terrorists.

With the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon approaching, authorities announced at a news conference Wednesday that during the last decade Los Angeles World Airports -- the city agency that operates LAX and as well as airports in Ontario and Van Nuys -- has increased the number of law enforcement officers at LAX from 517 to 811. The ranks include the largest team of bomb-sniffing dogs of any airport in the United States.

“We must never forget 9/11,” said Randy Parsons, the TSA’s security director at LAX. “We are safer than in 2001, but there is no end to securing our transportation system.”

Major improvements include fencing around the airport perimeter, an automated baggage screening system, security cameras, barriers, an emergency response center and a new fire station, increasing the number to three.

Today, LAX spends about $127 million a year on safety and security compared with $48.1 million in 2001.

The Transportation Security Administration now has about 3,000 agents at the airport who perform a variety of roles, including cargo scanning, luggage checks and passenger screening at checkpoints equipped with body-imaging scanners. TSA officers say they now screen all luggage compared with only 3% a decade ago.

They are joined by thousands of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents responsible for inspecting international cargo and passengers through passport and baggage control.

For the record, 3:35 p.m. Sept. 7: The headline on a previous version of this post said LAX has spent more than $500,000 to bolster security since 9/11.


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Photo: A TSA agent checks passengers' tickets at LAX in August. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times