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Adding Another Layer to the Security Blanket

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 31 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2004 Pages: 78,80,85
Jeannine Heinecke
Date Published
March 2004
7 pages
This article describes the use of Behavior Pattern Recognition (BPR) in airport security.
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Logan International Airport, the same airport from which terrorists hijacked two planes and flew them into the World Trade Center, has spent more than $140 million on its airport security systems. In addition to upgrading the in-line baggage screening system for explosives, Rafi Ron was brought to Logan International Airport to consult on the creation of BPR. BPR is a security methodology that uses observations of irregular behaviors for the environment and targeted conversations with suspects. To add an extra layer of security to Logan International Airport, some State police officers, Federal air marshals, and some Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers at Logan International Airport have been trained in BPR. The underpinnings of the BPR approach involves the marrying of two traditions: the traditional “walk and talks” that American police use to target certain airport customers as narcotic suspects and the Israel approach to targeting and interviewing suspects. Next, the BPR approach is explained in more detail. The approach begins with the careful observation of individual behavior, which should fit the environment. When a suspect has been identified based on irregular behaviors that do not fit the environment of an airport, the officers move on to a targeted conversation that is designed to elicit inaccurate responses. The technique is based on the assumption that the majority of law-abiding citizens would cooperate with the process. The BPR approach takes approximately 2 to 3 weeks to learn. Basic and advanced training courses that are currently offered are described. As a result of the success of the BPR approach at Logan International Airport, other airports and major city police departments are considering adopting the approach, which is based on behavior profiling, thus getting away from the sticky issue of racial profiling. Finally, it is noted that the BPR approach does not require officers to make major changes in the way they conduct their current police practices.