Mayor Pledges Fixes to LAX Security Lapses

Mayor Pledges Fixes for LAX Security Lapses

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Los Angeles, CA -

(FOX 11 / CNS) Lapses in communications between agencies hampered the response to a November shooting at Los Angeles International Airport that left a security screener dead, according to a report released today, and Mayor Eric Garcetti insisted steps were under way to improve emergency response.

"While November 1st was a tragic day, I want to reassure our traveling public that LAX is a safe airport," Garcetti said. "... We will never stop working to harden this target. I will not rest until we correct the things in this report that say need to be corrected, and we'll make this an even safer and better environment for all who come here to fly and all who come here to work."

The 83-page report pointed out failures in communication and coordination between police and fire departments that led to delays in the establishment of a unified command center. The various agencies also could not effectively communicate due to incompatible radio systems, the report found.

The report made dozens of recommendations aimed at bolstering security and emergency response, and warned that the Nov. 1 shooting could have been far deadlier if the perpetrator had been more sophisticated or if there had been multiple suspects.

The report recommended better coordination with rescue organizations such as the American Red Cross, as well as with area businesses, transportation companies and nearby cities that might be able to provide evacuation sites and shelter to stranded passengers.

It also suggested assigning more emergency management staff and making available more equipment and training to emergency responders.

"We clearly have more work to do and it begins with embracing the recommendations of this report," Airport Commission President Sean Burton said.

"The board will now carefully review the report's analysis of the shooting response and recovery, and ensure the recommendations are implemented in a timely fashion," he said.

Paul Anthony Ciancia, 24, a New Jersey native who was living in Sun Valley, is accused of carrying out the shooting in Terminal 3 that killed Transportation Security Administration Agent Gerardo Hernandez and wounded three others.

Garcetti said that among the steps being taken by the city and the airport to improve security were tactical emergency training for paramedics and firefighters, allowing them to more quickly enter areas that have not been fully secured by police, and a review of active-shooter training protocols to include more agencies. The city was also working to train airport tenants and other LAX employees about evacuation procedures.

The report looked at 26 different areas including public safety, incident command, response operations and emergency management and preparedness.

"While LAX is ahead of most airports nationally and internationally, the after-action report is a template for continuing evolution at LAX," according to Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that oversees the airport.

"Our learning will be a catalyst for change at other airports all over the world. While many responders to this incident and managers did amazing work that day, every emergency event provides the opportunity and ... the responsibility to analyze what can be done better."

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