VENICE AVIATION SOCIETY, INC.
JAN. 18, 2006
SECURITY REVIEW of VENICE MUNICIPAL AIRPORT
- Analyze airport requirements to determine real security and fire/rescue needs.
- Reassign police to neighborhood patrols with periodic visits to VNC.
- Use technology to monitor the gate i.e. web cams.
- Realign the budget.
- Hire employees for “in house” security and other appropriate duties.
- Augment with private security service as required.
Venice Municipal Airport (VNC) had a private security guard service. The security guard, in a vehicle with flashing light, could be seen at night checking the fence line and other areas of the field. A positive relationship developed between the on field tenants and the security guard. The guard provided a friendly welcome to pilots from out of town and would assist them with entry and exit to the field. This service which cost approximately $65,000 per year was terminated due to budget pressures.
Post September 11, 2001 the City Council directed the City Police Force to establish a presence at VNC and the City Water Works. The police are no longer at the water works but continue to “Guard the Gate” at VNC. This causes approximately $130,000 per year to be transferred from the Airport Industrial Fund to the City General Fund. Over the past four years approximately $500,000 has not been available for airport maintenance and used instead for police presence at the airport gate. The police are not present on a 24/7 basis. They do not have a list of persons authorized entry or the ability to monitor aviation radio transmissions. More importantly, while at the airport, patrol units are not available for normal police duties throughout Venice.
Appropriate Physical Security is required at VNC. The need to protect city property and aircraft on the field from vandalism, theft and other destructive acts is self evident. Reassuring the general public that the city airfield is physically secure is important. The process involved in inventorying aircraft, confirming properly functioning gates, locked hangars, fences in good repair, aircraft securely tied down, controlled access, properly functioning lights and performing safety equipment checks are activities suitable for general security personnel not highly skilled police officers.
Venice has experienced rapid growth during the past four years and this growth seems to be accelerating. Additional police patrol units would be a positive community enhancement, particularly on East Venice Avenue and in newly annexed areas.
- REVIEW and REVISE the POLICY for POLICE “GATE GUARD” DUTIES:
Four years of “Gate Guard “duty has denied Venice mobile police units while costing the airport over $500,000. Security can be enhanced by having the police visit VNCas part of their normal airport neighborhood patrols. The assignment of police was a response to public outrage over the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Technology such as a web cam can provide gate surveillance and record faces of anyone using cards for entry.
- REVIEW the AIRPORT BUDGET:
This review would determine if the amount of airport monies transferred to the City General Fund and City Administrative Fund are appropriate or should be adjusted. For example, if the Police are no longer gate guards then that money would remain in the Airport Industrial Fund. Transfer payments for Fire Department services should be reviewed. $25,000 may be a more appropriate budgeted value. With only four employees, the Administrative Fund transfer could be reduced by $50,000.A revenue review of the Airport Industrial Fund is also recommended. The rent for Sharky’s is split between the airport and the City General Fund. Parking lot rent of $12,000 goes to VNC. The City General Fund receives the restaurant rent. $50,000of restaurant rent could be diverted to the Airport Industrial Fund with minimal impact on City General Fund revenues. This review process can generate over $200,000 per year of found or freed money for airport investment.
- USE FOUND/FREED MONEY TO HIRE MORE AIRPORT PERSONNEL:The money recovered by this budget review can be used to hire three or four employees. Performing the security guard function “in house” will also permit increased levels of customer service. Having city employees on site after normal business hours is a very positive community relations measure. These employees can concurrently carry out preventative maintenance measures as part of their normal duties.
- CONTRACT FOR PRIVATE SECURITY SERVICES:
Private security worked well in the past and provided high levels of customer service. The limited use of private services to round out the security schedule may be appropriate.
Nicholas F. Carlucci