KRQE-TV: New Mexico Senator backs legislation to enhance airport security

By:  Mo Haider

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Most travelers KRQE News 13 spoke with say they feel safe at the Sunport but they also feel a terrorist attack – like the one in Brussels – could easily happen here.

That’s why senator Martin Heinrich is backing Democratic legislation that would enhance security in the non-secure areas of the airport such as baggage claim and ticket counters.

“Americans enjoy every day traveling around the country, visiting their grand children, engaging in commerce, going on vacation, we need to make sure we protect that,” said Senator Martin Heinrich, (D) New Mexico.

That would include more active shooter training for law enforcement and more bomb sniffing canines. The proposal also doubles the number of response teams patrolling airports, so they’re both inside and outside the security checkpoints.

The mayor’s office says it believes the Sunport is safe, but wouldn’t argue with a bigger security presence.

“Ultimately the safety of our Sunport is a priority, and anything that would help enhance that certainly would be looked upon favorably,” said the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Gilbert Montano.

While travelers agree, safety needs to come first. Some KRQE News 13 spoke with say this proposal is a bit much.

“The more that you have that kind of security, I think it gets in the way of, well it’s a self fulfilling prophecy where you think there is a need for it,” said Ally Ghilarducci

“If you give up your liberty in order to gain security, what have you really earned, which is sort of a heightened state of fear. I rather just live the life we live in,” said Michael Barnes.

Others feel security shouldn’t be over done.

“In general, there is a fine line. The only way to find out if people would accept it, just test it out.” said Jason Elkhay

Those parts outside the checkpoint that Heinrich is concerned about are called soft target areas.

This push for more security is part of the Federal Aviation Administration bill. The Senate is expected to consider it this week.