The Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) behavioral detection officers have been ordered to undergo training on racial profiling.
The order comes after officers in Boston were accused by their own colleagues of racially profiling black, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern passengers. The New York Times previously reported August 12 that 32 TSA workers have submitted complaints about minority targeting. The training classes were announced five days later.
“All officers at Boston Logan International Airport, where the profiling is said to have occurred, and managers of similar programs nationwide must attend a four-hour class on why racial profiling is not acceptable and why it is not an effective way to spot terrorists,” the Times reported on Friday.
A statement from the Department of Homeland Security stated that the four-hour training sessions would include “a discussion on how terrorists in the United States do not match any racial or ethnic stereotype.” Officers will have to take online refresher courses as well, the Times reported.
TSA stated in a statement that the racial profiling allegations are under investigation. “If any of these claims prove accurate, we will take immediate and decisive action to ensure there are consequences to such activity,” the statement says. “Racial profiling is not tolerated within the ranks of TSA, including within the Behavior Detection Program. Profiling is not only discriminatory, but it is also an ineffective way to identify someone intent on doing harm.”
TSA says behavioral detection officers screen only for observable behaviors and not race or ethnicity.
In other TSA news, the agency is looking for a multilingual hologram or computer imaging system that could help direct passengers through checkpoints.
photo by BuzzFarmers/flickr