Dickinson airport security in questionThe Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport will soon lose its armed security guards, said manager Matthew Remynse on Tuesday during the Stark County Commission meeting in the Stark County Courthouse.
The Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport will soon lose its armed security guards, said manager Matthew Remynse on Tuesday during the Stark County Commission meeting in the Stark County Courthouse.
Local law enforcement is also unable to act as armed security, he said.
“We can’t force you guys to do this,” Remynse said to commissioners. “However, we would like to have you guys out there.”
Remynse is trying to work out how who will respond to an incident at the airport. The Transportation Security Administration requires officers to respond within 20 minutes, he said.
Because that’s not always possible for the Stark County Sheriff’s Office, the Dickinson Police Department would have to respond in their absence, officials said.
“In emergency situations, they’ve always been the secondary responders if the sheriff’s office can’t make it,” Stark County Sheriff Clarence Tuhy said.
Dickinson Police Capt. Joe Cianni, speaking after the meeting, agreed.
Officers would not get paid to respond, Remynse said.
“If they were out there every day, yes we do have reimbursement from the TSA,” Remynse said. “But if we went to a situation where it’s a 20-minute response time, it’s no different than somebody having a domestic dispute and officers arriving.”
Stark County State’s Attorney Tom Henning told Remynse the issue will be between law enforcement agencies and is not something the commission can decide.
After the meeting, Remynse said TSA will have to approve a new security plan.
“Security and safety are still the airport’s No. 1 priority and we will have measures in place that would assure the safety of the flying public,” he said.
However, he would not say what the measures are.
Darcy Fossum, owner of Alpha 6, which is providing airport security, said the company will discontinue its services after Dec. 31.
“A major reason is because we have to deal with reimbursement from TSA,” Fossum said. “So instead of the airport paying us, we have to wait to get reimbursed from TSA.”
Pay is another factor, he added.
“Our rates for doing wedding dances and stuff like that is $10 to $15 (an hour) higher than what we’re doing at the airport, where we have to carry a weapon,” Fossum said. “That’s a more high-profile job and we’re making less there than we are doing security for a wedding dance unarmed.”
The company has provided security for the airport since 2003, he said.
“We’re sad that we had to make this choice, but when they don’t keep up with current rates and what’s going on, I guess it’s time to move on,” Fossum said.
Much of Alpha 6’s business is in the Williston area with energy companies, he said.
In an email, TSA Regional Public Affairs Manager Carrie Harmon said she could not discuss airport security plans.
“But there are some requirements that can be met by either a private contractor or in partnership with local law enforcement,” she wrote in the email. “Either way, TSA works closely with airports to ensure that all security requirements are met.”
Remynse said unarmed TSA agents will continue to have a presence at the airport.