FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Associated Press) - The National Guard
will start handing over patrol duties in South Florida
airports to local law enforcement agencies next week,
according to a Guard spokesman.
Guardsmen are scheduled to withdraw completely from
airports by May 10, spokesman Jon Myatt said Thursday.
The airports in Miami, West Palm Beach and Fort
Lauderdale will be among the last to lose their
The Guard also pulled all 75 troops from the Port
Everglades cruise terminal earlier this week, turning
security duties back to the Broward Sheriff's
Guard troops have been patrolling U.S. ports and
airports to bolster security since shortly after the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Once the Guard pullout is complete, the federal
Transportation Security Administration will oversee
the local law enforcement agencies at airports, said
That new federal agency is hiring directors to run
security at each airport, and more than 30,000 federal
employees to screen passengers and luggage. The agency
faces a congressional deadline of Nov. 19 to replace
the current private security screeners with a
better-trained, higher-paid federal work force.
Spokesmen for the Broward Sheriff's Office and
Miami-Dade Police Department say they're ready for the
task of letting travelers know they are being
"I think our people are more than qualified to
occupy these positions," said Miami-Dade police
spokesman Juan DelCastillo.
Visitors to Port Everglades should notice no
difference in the level of security measures there,
said Broward Sheriff's spokesman Jim Leljedal.
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The withdrawal from the port does not include 170
National Guard Troops who work with U.S. Customs and
the Coast Guard for drug intervention.