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Airport security agreement between Massena’s town and village extended through June

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MASSENA - Following a special meeting held Tuesday afternoon in executive session, both the town and village of Massena have agreed to extend the law enforcement services agreement through the end of June.

The village board passed the agreement on Tuesday, while the town board followed suit at its regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday. Both boards unanimously approved of the deal.

“We asked them to extend it for six months, and they agreed to do that,” said Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray.

The deal calls for the village to be paid $68.85 per day in exchange for the village providing an armed officer at the airport for each of the three flights out of Massena each day.

Mr. Gray also noted that the town currently has an application pending with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), that, if approved, would see the town reimbursed for these expenses. Retired village police officers - also working the court security detail - are currently handling most of those duties.

Massena Police Chief Timmy J. Currier said the extension of the agreement is to give the town additional time to seek an alternative for providing a law enforcement presence at the airport.

“The town is still in negotiations with TSA regarding the security agreement,” Mr. Currier said. “So we extended the agreement while they look at their other options.”

Those other options include possibly having an officer on standby who would respond to the airport if needed.

Mr. Gray has submitted a request to the TSA to be approved for what is known as an “approved response time” plan.

In a letter written to TSA officials earlier this year, he wrote, “Our research indicates that these airports are very well served by this status and that public safety has not been compromised by it. TSA has a significant presence at the Massena Airport. All of your staff are highly trained professionals who are capable of calling local law enforcement agencies should the need arise.”

Following that letter, Mr. Gray said TSA officials responded they would be willing to work with the town to ensure the airport’s security needs are met, although no promises were made as to whether an “approved response time” plan would gain their support.

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