Following a number of cases of questionable treatment during airport security screenings, federal officials are introducing specially-trained staffers to assist those with disabilities.
Officials at the Transportation Security Administration say they have over 2,600 officers, lead staffers and supervisors trained to address the concerns of travelers with special needs. Each received four hours of instruction developed in conjunction with disability advocacy groups, TSA officials said.
Known as “passenger screening specialists,” the assistance of officers with the special training can be requested by members of the public with disabilities and medical conditions.
“The goal is to have a (passenger screening specialist) in the vicinity of each checkpoint during normal operating hours and to provide proactive assistance and resolve concerns, enabling quick resolution of issues and to keep security lines moving smoothly,” said Jonathan Allen, a TSA spokesman, who recommended that passengers expecting to need extra assistance arrive early at the airport and immediately request a specialist.
The announcement comes just weeks after the TSA publicly apologized after an online video of agents mishandling the screening of a 3-year-old in a wheelchair went viral.
In addition to the newly-trained staffers, the TSA also maintains a hotline designed to assist passengers with special needs. TSA Cares can be reached at (855) 787-2227.