The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) is forming an elite unit designed to proactively combat the threat of terrorism at Logan International Airport. The specialized team, named the Airport Anti-Terrorism Unit (AAU), will receive continual training in many fields, including:
- biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons;
- hostage situations and boarding of aircraft;
- crisis negotiation;
- surveillance and counter surveillance;
- terrorist behavioral pattern recognition; and
- civil rights.
The specially-trained unit will be responsible for conducting security sweeps, roadblocks, surveillance, counter surveillance, covert security testing, intelligence gathering and sharing and behavioral pattern recognition. The mission is to maintain a proactive presence in all sectors of the airport community and implement preemptive measures to secure the safety of the public and Logan employees. They also will act as a rapid response team to terrorist incidents or other high-risk situations. In addition, members will assist the Transportation Security Administration and law enforcements agencies with an array of duties and activities.
Initially, the Airport Anti-Terrorism Unit will build upon the expertise and experience of Troop F, the Massport dedicated State Police contingent. For example, State Police Sgt. Dave Thompson, a nationally recognized expert in the field of explosives, who recently rendered safe the explosive laden shoes of terrorist suspect, Richard Reid, will be a member of the unit. The unit will draw upon Troop F officers who have a wealth of know-how in the fields of K-9 training and handling, tactical response, emergency medical care, and crisis negotiation. Under Massport's former director of public safety, Joseph Lawless, many members of Troop F gained recognition and expertise in airport security over the past eight years.