Traffic enforcement officers at PS Airport say they lack safety training

Traffic enforcement officers at PS...

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Some airport traffic enforcement employees at the Palm Springs International Airport said they are concerned when it comes to an emergency or disaster because they haven't been trained.

"If you work in an environment like this with other people around, you want to be protected and you want to be able to protect other people also," former Ace Parking traffic enforcement officer Joshua Lopez said.

Less than a month ago, a gunman opened fire in the baggage claim area of Fort Lauderdale International Airport, leaving five people dead.

It's mayhem that still frightens some traffic enforcement officers at Palm Springs International Airport.
Three of them reached out to us. We've been looking into their safety concerns.
Two asked us to conceal their identities in fear they could lose their jobs.

"The first thing I'd seen was people wearing yellow vests just like myself running and ducking behind cars because they didn't know what to do," one traffic enforcement officer said.

"It's not just my safety, it's other people's safety at this airport too, and I think it's important for the community to know," another traffic enforcement officer said.

Those employees said they don't have any safety training when it comes to an emergency situation like an active shooter.

"If there are any bombings or any earthquakes, there's no training on that whatsoever. So, yeah. I couldn't tell you what to do in case of an emergency," Lopez said.

We checked with the airport and the director said all airport employees, including those who are hired through a contractor, are federally required to be trained by the airport and have been.

"They are trained in all security manners, we bundle all of them in. Their primary job on that front curb is to report an incident; they are not trained to be confronting an active shooter. That is left up to the law enforcement personnel," said Palm Springs International Airport Director Thomas Nolan. 

We reached out to Ace Parking for details on employee training programs; they declined to comment but told us the airport takes the lead on training matters.

"I've been here since October. The only one we've had is how to hydrate training and how to drink plenty of water during hot seasons," the first traffic enforcement officer said.

We looked into that and found an April OSHA report citing Ace Parking for not providing heat illness prevention training. Employees told us that hot weather training came shortly after, but it didn't hit their main concerns. Some traffic enforcement employees said they want safety training to be federally required.

"Unfortunately, they are the front line. Their job is to identify a situation, and we have multiple security layers to address it. Now it's not the most comfortable thing to be out on the front curb at an airport, so if you are asking them from the perspective 'if I am fully comfortable?' No one is at ease about [an] active shooter. No one. Not even police officers," Nolan said.

Nolan said additional training is offered by the airport, but it is up to employers and employees to schedule it. 

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