CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team went one-on-one with the head of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, pressing to find out what will be done during the holiday travel season to stop airport intruders.
The night before Thanksgiving, a driver crashed through an airport fence and made it out to a runway. That shut down the airport.
Since 2019, time and again, we’ve seen drivers barreling through fences at Hopkins and others climbing over them to get into secure areas.
On Wednesday morning, the I-Team caught up with the interim director of port control as he left city hall.
We first asked Dennis Kramer to tell us what he would say to travelers in the busy holiday season. What steps are being taken to address the chronic problem of people easily getting into secure areas of the airport property?
“Safety and security at the airport are our No. 1 priority,” Kramer said. “We are continuously looking at anything we can do to improve and enhance our security.”
Kramer said what you’d expect. So, we followed up with more questions. The latest case has sparked a growing demand for action from city council members and travelers.
We also asked, “What reassurance can you give to travelers that there’s something being done even during this holiday season?”
Kramer responded, “I really can’t get into any of those specifics, but I can tell you we are continuously looking at everything we can do.”
The I-Team also asked about the impact of short staffing with police at the airport. The entire Cleveland Police Department is short-handed. But in recent months, we’ve paid special attention to the number of officers at Hopkins. Records show the number of cops assigned to the Airport has consistently been down by about a quarter below what the police department calls “recommended.”
On that point, Kramer added, “Again, I can’t get into those details with staffing, with any of our security.”
The driver arrested in the latest case faces federal charges.
In the meantime, Hopkins management faces a growing demand to try to stop airport intruders.
The acting director says, in short, “Trust us.”
Kramer pointed out, “I can assure you we are always on top of safety and security and doing what we can.”
This week, the Transportation Security Administration told us no other airport in Ohio has had a problem with security breaches through fences as we’ve seen at Hopkins.