Air marshal land deployment in confusion

Dec. 15, 2005 at 8:42 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Transportation Security Administration abruptly scaled back its experimental deployment of air marshals at land transit sites after just two days.

Officials had planned to deploy teams of air marshals, local law enforcement officers and bomb-sniffing dogs at seven locations around the country this week, but confusion over coordination forced a pull-back, the Washington Post reported.

Federal Air Marshal Service spokesman David Adams said Tuesday teams would be deployed at rail and mass transit facilities in Philadelphia, but Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., said some local officials hadn't been notified.

The transit officials were "somewhat hostile to the idea of air marshals being in the transit system," Schwartz said. "They said working in rapid transit or a passenger rail system is different than working in a closed system of the airport."

On the west coast, Sgt. Monica Hunter, spokeswoman for the Washington State Patrol said the state police would like to work with the TSA in the future, but "it's not something we'd want to rush into."

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