Sacramento International Airport has been approved to replace TSA agents with private contractors. Airport officials made the request in April after Congress expanded an opt-out clause in the federal law that created the TSA.
Airport Director Hardy Acree said he believes private screeners can do a more efficient job than government employees and provide the same level of security. “I think there is going to be a higher level of customer service”, Acree said.
Current only San Francisco, Kansas City and 14 smaller airports currently use private security employees. Sacramento International Airport would be the third largest airport to move to private security.
According to federal law, private contract screeners are trained by the TSA, they follow TSA procedures, use TSA equipment, and display TSA badges. There are even TSA supervisors that oversee operations. The private company is paid by the TSA.
Even with all this TSA involvement the TSA employee union, American Federation of Government Employees, was quick to criticize the move. The move would reduce costs and increase efficiency, but union president James Mudrock said they will “continue to fight this”.
One traveler that regularly uses SFO said “It’s been awesome in San Francisco. They get travelers through faster, they do a better job finding test devices, and the moral is better than the TSA. It’s a win-win for everyone.”