Effective today, September 11th, 2008, transportation security officers at airport checkpoints all over the country will be wearing new uniforms and badges. The new uniform will be blue, and a gold badge will replace the patch.
Plans for this were announced over a year ago, and have finally been implemented. At the time, it was reported the move came because the agents want more respect from the travelling public and want to be seen more like the police, or as they put it, it addresses “officers’ concerns of utility, respect, and confidence”
Their press release today quotes TSA Chief Kip Hawley’s view…
“While the uniform and badge represent the professionalism of our officers, it is what’s behind the cloth and metal that embodies the spirit of TSA – a focused, intelligent and dedicated workforce that lives the agency’s post 9/11 mission: ‘not on my watch.’“
We feel safer already. If the TSA is, as Bruce Schneier has suggested, “Security Theater”, they need the appropriate costumes. Personally, we’d rather see the money invested in somehting that helps us, although we suppose we don’t want cranky TSA agents decided we merit a strip-search.
As a positive note to their press release, this uniform move is part of the TSA’s “Checkpoint Evolution“, a ‘transformational culture shift’ which will have every Transportation Security Officer(screener is as out of vogue as stewardess), participating in two days of training which “incorporates information sharing, more advanced explosives detection skills, and ways to engage with passengers that promote a calmer checkpoint environment and better security result. It uses the physical checkpoint to TSA’s advantage to improve security.”
Either way, one feels much safer in the air knowing that smartly dressed officers at a calm checkpoint environment are protecting us from malicious bottles of water. It seems a sharp contrast to what we saw at our last visit to the airport.