As part of its effort to lead the country in innovative security enhancements, the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) is arming State Police troopers with wireless, hand-held computers to check up electronically on passengers, airport employees and vehicles at Logan International Airport. The pilot program consists of hand-held computers provided by Aether Systems, Inc. of Owings Mills, MD. The BlackBerry® computers include Aether's PocketBlue® software, allowing troopers to run a check quickly through the National Crime Information Center on outstanding warrants, previous felonies or stolen vehicles. Individuals and cars are selected randomly as troopers patrol various areas of the airport. If the program proves successful, Massport will eye expanding the system to include state records and tying into federal watch lists.
"As our troopers patrol terminals and garages randomly interviewing passengers, this technology allows them to check immediately if an individual is wanted by law enforcement," said Thomas J. Kinton, Jr., Acting Executive Director for Massport. "This gives our agents an added tool as they conduct one-on-one interviews and strengthen our multi-layered security system at Logan."
The troopers using the wireless technology have concentrated their patrols in the airport terminals, parking facilities and the taxi pool.
"We are pleased to be part of Massport's initiative to implement best-in-class security procedures at Logan Airport," said Mike Mancuso, group president, Aether Systems. "Massport recognizes that innovative wireless applications such as PocketBlue create an infrastructure for effective command, control, communications and intelligence. Logan is leading the way for airports around the country, as they join the ranks of other government agencies who are achieving their Homeland Security objectives with PocketBlue."