CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered talk of possibly cutting back on police at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
We’ve learned of discussion about replacing some officers at the airport with private security guards.
So, the I-Team investigated what that would mean for your family at a place expected to have top-level security.
We’ve seen trouble erupt on planes. Drivers crash through fences with people going places off-limits to the public. We’ve reported many times on thieves stealing luggage or breaking into cars.
In short, we’ve seen police get very busy at Hopkins Airport.
But, we also uncovered an internal memo that shows the city struggling to keep enough officers at the airport due to a shortage of cops citywide.
So, months ago, city leaders discussed “setting up a meeting… to look at… contractors for security, then can reassign CPD officers.”
There’s no decision yet, but sources tell the I-Team that one plan calls for sharp cuts in airport police.
So, we called Tajmila Williams. She recently had to call police when she found a strange man inside her car in an airport parking garage.
“I kind of, just, was surprised to see eyeballs in the back seat,” she said. “I was nervous he could have had a weapon or something.”
The man took off when she showed up. Tajmila reacted when we asked her about possibly replacing some officers with security guards.
“It just don’t feel secure. The security guards can only do so much,” she said.
The city would not answer questions for us about this. Instead, a spokesperson for the airport sent the following statement:
“At Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) safety and security is the number one priority. In conjunction with our airport partners, we are continuously reviewing our programs and procedures to maintain the highest levels of safety and security possible for our passengers, tenants, stakeholders and employees. Specific details in regards to posts, positions, or layers of security cannot be divulged in order to maintain the integrity of the airport-wide system.”
The I-Team also checked with the feds. The Transportation Security Administration did not comment, but every airport like Hopkins has to follow federal security standards. We’ve learned, right now, Hopkins is meeting TSA standards for law enforcement presence.
To be clear, most folks go through Hopkins Airport and never have a problem.
Still, Williams says, if anything, add more police.
Again, nothing’s been decided yet regarding replacing any officers at Hopkins.
Records show that the number of officers assigned to the airport is already down by a quarter due to an overall shortage in the Cleveland Police Department.
Officers at Hopkins work a lot of overtime to meet federal airport safety standards.