FARGO ND Jan 16 2017 — Fargo police will begin maintaining a regular presence at the Hector International Airport as early as July.
Two armed private security officers currently patrol the airport. But to satisfy the standards of a federal program, the airport authority plans to start paying for Fargo police officers to provide security, said Shawn Dobberstein, executive director of the Municipal Airport Authority.
"It's not going to cost the city of Fargo a penny," Dobberstein said.
Fargo Police Chief David Todd said his department is working on an agreement with the airport authority to post an officer at Hector's security checkpoint. Achieving this for two nine-hour shifts a day, seven days a week will require hiring five or six new officers, the chief said.
Dobberstein said the airport authority now pays $110,000 to $115,000 a year for the two private security officers. Replacing one of those officers with Fargo police will raise annual security costs to about $600,000 — 25 to 30 percent of which will be covered by a federal reimbursement program, he said.
Dobberstein said Fargo police are being brought in now because the number of fliers has reached a point where the federal reimbursement program prefers that a sworn officer is stationed at the airport.
The Fargo police at the airport will work with Transportation Security Administration officials to deal with upset or intoxicated passengers or any other situations that arise, Dobberstein said. "There are really not too many arrests at the airport," he said.
To pay for the Fargo officers, the airport authority will dip into its operations and maintenance budget, which is funded by parking lot fees, car rental fees, landing fees, terminal rent, farmland rent, hangar rent and revenue from businesses at the airport, he said.