In a new letter, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe says the airport needs more police officers and outlines what he thinks the city needs to do to keep the airport safer.
The letter comes at the request of city manager Ron Carlee, who was examining costs at the airport amidst the struggle over control of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Travelers said they've never worried about safety.
"I've always felt safe every time I come here," traveler Dwayne Templet said.
Since taking over policing in December, CMPD has bumped up the number of officers from 42 to 61.
But in the letter, Monroe said the airport still has the fewest officers among the 23 Category X airports -- high traffic airports that are at the highest risk of terrorist activity.
"That surprises me," traveler Brenda Martin said, who also added that she feels safe traveling at Charlotte Douglas.
The transition this year, fiscal year 2013, increased costs. With the transition, costs were about $5.5 million. In 2012, the airport spent about $2.6 million on police. Next year, fiscal year 2014, it expects to spend almost $6 million.
Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) said the rising costs are a big reason why giving control to a regional airport authority makes sense.
He said it would protect the airport's low-cost status.
"You don't need more people if the job was being done by what you had before. Are we better off? Are we safer?" he said.
But councilman Andy Dulin said yes and pointed to a memo from Homeland Security attached to the chief's letter.
It says the agency is "delighted" with CMPD taking over and its recent seizures at the airport of more than $200,000 associated with "criminal activity."
"They're saying the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police force is the correct group to be looking after the airport," Dulin said.
Councilman James Mitchell said it shows the city's decisions here have been good ones.
"The question is still -- what did we do wrong?" he asked.
City leaders said it's still unclear to them what kind of security an airport authority would have.
CMPD said no one representing or supporting the authority has asked what it would cost to contract with CMPD and keep police in place.