Oakland International Airport is known for its commitment to advancing innovative solutions to complex security operations. Recently, the Airport was selected as a TSA Innovation Task Force Site, a prestigious distinction that promotes improved efficiency and allows the Airport to try technologies to benefit its growing passenger base, to help the TSA apply lessons learned around the country.
We had an opportunity to talk with Dave Mansel, aviation security manager for the Airport about his decision to implement a new solution for threat detection and prevention. Oakland International installed an Evolv Edge system to enhance its employee screening program.
Q: What led you to seek a new threat detection solution to enhance your employee screening program?
A: Oakland International is the second busiest airport in northern California, and we’ve been growing on a consistent basis for four years. We had more than 13 million people travel through the airport in 2017, the most traffic we’ve ever seen. We expect that growth to continue. Obviously, we need more people working here to accommodate such growth, and we need innovation to make sure we provide a safe work environment and an efficient, non-disruptive screening experience for our employees.
Q: How is that threat detection screening experience different now that you’re using the Evolv Edge?
A: Prior to Evolv Edge, employees were screened using a variety of techniques and equipment, including walk-through and handheld metal detectors, and full-body pat downs. Now, employees pass through the Evolv Edge at walking speed, without having to empty their pockets or submit to invasive search procedures.
Q: How did you learn about the Evolv Edge?
A: We knew that a few other airports in the US were using it for employee screening, so we agreed to meet with the Evolv team at the ACI-NA Public Safety and Security Conference last fall. We recognized immediately that it was a good fit. Evolv helped us quickly get a test unit in place, and it has performed well.
Q: What are the main reasons you decided to proceed from testing to deploy the system?
A: We like that employees like it more than other inspection methodologies. For aviation workers, screening is part of the daily routine during shift check in. Traditional screening methods have been slow and invasive, including pat downs and physical examination of personal belongings. Simply stated, they are viewed as inconvenient.
Being able to speed up the screening process and make it less invasive is a big win. With Evolv Edge, employees “just walk through” – the system screens the employee and their belongings which provides for a fast, friction-free screening process. This is a welcome change compared to manual screening and traditional methods that were slow and required divestment and physical searches. These features are a plus for today’s employees and will support our growth.
The fact that the system is mobile is a plus. We can use it throughout the entire airport, to try it for different use cases. Safety and security is our number one priority, and Evolv Edge provides a good balance between comprehensive employee screening and a seamless experience. With this installation, we feel confident in our ability to protect against today’s threats while also minimizing inconvenience for our employees.
Q: Do you have plans to expand OAK’s use of the Evolv Edge platform?
A: Yes, but this is a future step that will require additional planning.
Read more about examining today’s threats vectors to address tomorrow’s security threats here.