NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) thinks dogs could help speed things up at the airport.
He’s calling for K9 teams to screen passengers.READ MORE: 2-Year-Old Shot In Head In Newark Survives Emergency Surgery, Family Says; Police Looking For Suspects
As CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported, the outrageous security lines at New York City airports are about to get even longer with the summer travel season.
“They get worse every time you go through,” Kathy Pemmons said.
“You could stand in line for an hour, hour and 15 depending on the airport,” said passenger Scott Campbell.
Campbell said long security lines had actually caused him to miss a flight.
That’s why Schumer wants immediate action.
He wants the TSA to put extra dogs in security checkpoints to screen passengers.
The agency currently has nearly 400 at airports across the country including the New York area.
“TSA screening dogs can cut passenger screening times by about half,” he said.
Schumer said that’s based on facts provided to him by the TSA.READ MORE: Group Marches Across Manhattan Bridge To Protest Shooting Death Of Daunte Wright In Minnesota
The dogs sniff out passengers and their luggage for explosive while they wait in line. If they’re clear they can then go to the pre-check instead.
TSA said the line is twice as fast because you don’t have to take off your shoes and articles of clothing during screening.
Schumer cited statistics from the agency that showed 150 people going through a regular screening line in an hour, for pre-check it’s 280.
“The bottom line is that canines can really help take a bit out of time,” Schumer said.
The TSA said it’s in the process of training more canines on how to do this screening, and local airports will get additional dogs, but a spokesman couldn’t provide specific numbers.
Security expert Manny Gomez said dogs aren’t the answer because they can’t sniff out weapons.
“They’re still going to need screeners and the x-ray machines at the airport, and that will still mean long lines,” he said.
He added that when travelers see canines in the security lines they might think twice about bringing illegal items on board.
The TSA said it is planning to hire more than 700 new officers to put in security checkpoints in addition to bringing in extra dogs.
A spokesperson said the additions will be gradual over the next few months.MORE NEWS: Hundreds Gather At Police Dept. In Minneapolis Suburb For 2nd Night Of Daunte Wright Protests