TSA could use new technique to screen travelers in Charlotte
By Holly Maynard
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
The TSA at Charlotte's airport could soon use a new technique to check for explosives and screen travelers in security lines.
TSA Adminstrator John Pistole spoke to Eyewitness News Thursday afternoon in Charlotte about a pilot program currently at airports in Indianapolis and Tampa. He said it would come to Charlotte within the next two years.
Pistole said the program would help recognize travelers who are not a threat so that they could get through security faster. Travelers are pulled out of the main security line if behavior detection officers don't notice anything suspicious, and canines trained to pick up the vapor of explosives don't detect anything. Travelers would then go through the "PreCheck" lane and learn how to sign up to be a pre-check member for good.
Through the PreCheck program, travelers are either invited by their airline because they're an elite frequent flier, or they sign up for the Customs Border Protection Global Entry Program. That gives them expedited entry when they come back to the U.S. and costs $100 for five years.
The pre-screening for both of these means the travelers' experience in line is much quicker.
"They don't have to take their shoes off, they don't have to take their belt off, a light jacket, they can keep their liquids, aerosols, gels still in small sizes and a laptop in their carry-on bag," Pistole said.
The TSA said Charlotte Douglas currently does not have the canines that are trained for the pilot program. That’s one reason why the program doesn't exist here now.
Pistole said as the TSA expands the number of travelers who go through pre-screenings, the agency's officers become more efficient at looking for those travelers who are threats.
"We're looking for that needle in a haystack, that one in a billion, that terrorist who may be trying to do something," he said.
Pistole also said about 10 percent of the travelers at Charlotte Douglas go through some type of expedited screening. That includes the elderly, young children, members of the military, pilots and flight attendants. That’s the highest number of any airport in the country, in part because of the large number of military members who travel through Charlotte Douglas.