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Tisdale Report Finds Airport Needs More Security Staff

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has released its investigation into how 16-year-old Delvonte Tisdale breached airport security last November. The report is full of redactions from the Transportation Security Administration and CMPD, but one major finding that does come through is Charlotte Douglas International Airport needs more security staff guarding its perimeter and facilities. The CMPD report includes 3-and-half pages of recommendations to improve airport security. The TSA has redacted about three-quarters of that. But what didn't get crossed out is the finding that Charlotte Douglas needs more security officers. The City of Charlotte is responsible for supplying law enforcement officers to guard the airport's perimeter. CMPD Major Glen Neimeyer found the current law enforcement agency at the airport "does not adequately reflect the type, size and functions of an organization that should be in place at a major metropolitan airport." Most of his recommendations are redacted. The report also mentions a concern with using a private security company to control vehicle traffic at the arrival and departure areas just outside the terminal building. But the specific concerns were redacted. CMPD issued the report on February 9th, but didn't release it to the public until yesterday. At a city council meeting on February 28th, Police Chief Rodney Monroe presented what he said he could from the report's recommendations, keeping in mind security concerns. "They include enhancements to the airport's electronic security system, structural improvements to airport property, increase in staffing levels to airport police and implementation of new patrol strategies," said Monroe. City Manager Curt Walton said the city couldn't release more information because the report was classified by the federal government. But the TSA refuted those claims, which prompted the city to ask the agency to review the whole report for security concerns. "My concerns are about an airport cover-up," says Florida attorney Christopher Chestnut, who represents the Tisdale family. He's been waiting on the report before filing a lawsuit. Chestnut says it wasn't worth the wait. "This has been a six month investigation and there's a six page report?" The report released by CMPD includes both TSA and CMPD redactions. CMPD says it redacted information that involved vulnerable aircraft positions and specific locations at which staff was deployed. The TSA did not redact how CMPD believes Tisdale accessed the plane, but CMPD did. Before take-off, the flight sat on the tarmac for 37 minutes, idling. That's when CMPD believes Tisdale would have made his way on to the plane. Mayor Anthony Foxx says the city has begun implementing the report's recommendations to improve airport security. But like the public version of the report, he didn't say what those recommendations are. Foxx said given the security concerns, other city staff should provide further insight on the matter. Airport officials, including Director Jerry Orr, did not respond to request for comment.