Syracuse Hancock International Airport will establish its own police force under a new law signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The measure amends the enabling legislation for the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority, which manages the airport. Jason Terreri, the airport's executive director, told The Citizen in June that the original bill creating the authority did not allow it to establish a police force.
"Most airport authorities have their own police force," Terreri said. "The reason we really wanted to do that is so that we could create our own police force, which would give us a little bit more control in terms of staffing and how we manage the overall operations of the airport."
Officers from the Syracuse Police Department patrol the airport on a secondary work permit, but the arrangement is not part of a department detail, according to Terreri. The airport's budget allows for five officers per shift.
Terreri said that while the authority was still determining how many officers would be part of the airport's police force, the five-per-shift standard is "probably in the ballpark of where it would be."
According to the governor's office, staffing issues within the Syracuse Police Department also affected patrols at the airport. With its own police force, the airport's officers would be considered New York state police officers.
"By having dedicated police officers at Hancock International Airport, we will help ensure the safety and security of New Yorkers and visitors alike," Hochul said. "This legislation will provide travelers and airport employees with greater peace of mind when traveling in Syracuse."
The bill was sponsored by state Sen. John Mannion and Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli. Mannion, D-Geddes, said the establishment of the airport's police force will give it "a long-term solution to enhance police safety."