TSA implements new security procedure

Story by Sabra Jackson, Contributing writer

Those who are flying over Spring Break may be asked to take part in a new procedure put in place by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The new pat-down includes an inspection of the head, neck, arms, torso, legs and feet, as well as sensitive areas including breasts, groin and buttocks. Passengers may be asked to adjust clothing for a more efficient search.

If a passenger wishes to have the procedure done in a private room, he or she may do so. The practice will also be carried out by an officer of the same sex as the passenger.

Officers performing the pat-down have been through a formal training and are required to demonstrate the procedure before carrying out the new strategy.

According to its website, the change is from a study TSA completed in 2015 after receiving classified results of covert tests.

Mark Howell, regional spokesperson of TSA, said the new procedure was put into effect March 2. This procedure incorporates strategies used in the past into one plan that will be followed at airport security checkpoints as well as other locations in the airport.

The method also applies to airline pilots, flight attendants and airport employees who are subject to random screenings.

Coy Murphy, senior from Owensboro, Kentucky, is traveling to Cap Haitien for a mission trip during Spring Break.

Murphy said “I have nothing to hide” in regards to the information about the new procedure.

Matthew Menke, junior from Evansville, Indiana, is flying to Las Vegas for his Spring Break and knew nothing about the new procedure.

“I would probably just do it to keep the line moving,” Menke said.  

Eddie Grant, director of marketing at Barkley Regional Airport, said “it is basically a more enhanced preventative pat down from what everyone has gotten.”

Grant said most passengers have not really noticed a change when they went through security.

“TSA continues to adjust and refine our systems and procedures to meet the evolving threat and to achieve the highest levels of transportation security,” Howell said.