CLEVELAND (WJW) — A FOX 8 I-Team investigation has exposed security concerns at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. We found drivers doing what they want for as long as they want outside the terminal.
During the day and at night, we found traffic chaos with many people parking right at the terminal doors and even leaving their cars and going inside.
What we found led us to ask questions, especially now, in the middle of so much holiday travel.
Many of you remember, after the 9/11 attacks, airports nationwide tightened security including making sure drivers didn’t just stop and park and hang around the terminal.
But multiple sources told the I-Team drivers often spend as much time as they like when dropping people off or picking them up at Hopkins.
In fact, just after midnight Thursday, we saw an SUV outside the terminal for more than an hour.
We saw another one in the same place for a half hour.
On Thursday and Friday, we also saw drivers park on the terminal driveway and go inside. We didn’t have to look hard to find cars left empty.
All of that, despite signs telling drivers they could only load and unload there and move on.
We even met a driver waiting for someone Friday afternoon admitting she’d sat there for 30 minutes.
“Well, that’s ridiculous. Somebody’s gotta enforce it,” said another traveler. “In Tampa, there’s security. You just gotta move. You can’t do this.”
Outside Hopkins, we saw police officers moving people along. And, we saw other officers not doing that. And, sometimes we found no officers in sight at all.
Hopkins has an area set up for people to wait in their cars for someone to come out of the airport — a cell phone lot set up away from the terminal; a place to wait for that call: “Come pick me up.”
But this does not stop the terminal traffic jams.
“We have to do a better job of enforcement to ensure the safety and security of the airport,” said Hopkins spokesman John Goersmeyer.
He said the airport plans to give more drivers tickets for not moving. More cars will get towed. The airport is also looking at ways to reduce congestion.
One man in a car told us he’d been sitting there for 15 minutes, and he admitted drivers bending the rules could be a security gap.
“They probably should be cracking down on it a little bit more, to be honest with you,” he said.
The I-Team has also asked about the impact of short-staffing of police at Hopkins Airport. As we’ve reported, Cleveland police officers have been short there by as much as a quarter of recommended staffing.
We also contacted the Transportation Security Administration for comment, which referred us back to the airport.