Rethink scanner decision

Apparently when it relates to airport scanners, size does matter.

The Transportation Security Administration recently began removing full-body scanners from smaller airports around the country, including Minot International Airport, and re-installing the machines at larger airports. The L3 Millimeter Wave scanners in Minot, Bismarck and Grand Forks were scheduled to be removed this week. The machines create a cartoon-like outline of travelers, unlike other machines that have been criticized for creating images that look too realistic. The new machines will be removed from 49 smaller airports around the country to help replace 174 full-body scanners at larger airports.

Many of the L3 scanners have been in place at smaller airports for less than a year, leading to criticism that the TSA is wasting money by installing them, only to remove them months later. Officials at some smaller airports have said losing the machines will lead to longer lines, more pat-downs and less security. The TSA itself said moving and reinstalling the $150,000 machines will cost more than $2 million.

The last thing airports in Bismarck, Grand Forks and Minot need right now is longer lines. Passenger boardings in North Dakota continue to skyrocket thanks to the booming oil industry and accompanying population growth. Anything that increases waiting time for passengers to get through security is especially bad for Minot’s facility, which already has long lines at peak times during the day.

We’d like to think the TSA would rethink its decision to remove the scanners at least from the busy North Dakota airports. Putting the machines at bigger airport doesn’t necessarily make sense when you consider the number of passengers going through smaller airports at peak times.