The Massachusetts Port Authority's (Massport's) elite Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) has completed its training and will now patrol Logan International Airport with 30 new Heckler & Koch MP-5 submachine guns. With the deployment, Logan becomes the first airport in the country to have a specialized police unit fully trained to use automatic weapons. The MP-5, designed for close-quarters use, is the standard issue weapon for premier anti-terrorist units worldwide and offers Logan troopers improved accuracy, control and firepower.
"Our passengers should only settle for the best trained and the best equipped and that's exactly what we have here at Logan Airport," said Massport CEO Craig P. Coy. "As a leader in transportation security and customer service, Massport will continue to make smart investments in the latest technologies, equipment, and training. From new walkways and terminals to 100% bag screening and infrared cameras, we are making Logan a premier facility for business and leisure travelers."
The specially-trained Massachusetts State Police unit established by Massport in April, 2002 is responsible for conducting security sweeps, roadblocks, surveillance, counter surveillance, covert security testing, intelligence gathering and sharing and passenger behavior pattern recognition (BPR). The unit's mission is to maintain a proactive presence in all sectors of the airport community and implement preemptive measures to help ensure the safety of the public and Logan employees. It also acts as a rapid response team to terrorist incidents or other high-risk situations. As an additional layer of security, members assist the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and law enforcements agencies with an array of duties and activities.
Today's full deployment of the submachine guns comes after the ATU members completed an intensive training course to become certified on the MP-5 submachine gun. The training included live-fire drills, night firing and special tactics. The initial courses will be augmented with additional training scheduled to take place throughout the year.
The new weapons are issued with a 30-round clip and have a two-round burst capacity (allowing two shots to be fired automatically with one trigger depression). Firearms like the MP-5 have been in place in many foreign airports for more than a decade.
Massport's decision to equip its elite police unit with MP-5 automatic weapons is the latest in a series of nationally-recognized aviation security initiatives. In June, 2002, Logan Airport became the first major airport to have a 100% inline baggage screening plan approved by the TSA. Today, Logan Airport is one of the only major international U.S. airports with a fully automated, inline bag screening system. In addition, Logan was the first airport to implement advanced identification verification technology, provide State Police troopers with handheld computers for background checks and test infrared cameras for perimeter security.
To augment these technological security measures, Massport has also trained State Police troopers to proactively assess travelers' behavior through the use of behavior pattern recognition (BPR), a procedure based on 30 years of Israeli airport security experience. Designed to identify hostile intent, troopers utilizing the BPR procedure observe and interview passengers and others in the airport's terminals, curbs, roads, and parking garages.