San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is located about thirteen miles south of downtown San Francisco. It's the tenth largest airport in the United States and the twentieth in the entire world. It serves as a major gateway from North America to Europe, Asia, and Australia. SFO is a major hub for United Airlines and Virgin America is also based out of the airport. In addition to the airlines themselves, it offers a number of restaurants, shopping, baggage storage, public showers, a medical clinic, assistance for lost or stranded travelers and military personnel, and the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum. It also boasts a strong surveillance system, which is about to get even stronger.
Currently, there are over 1,300 cameras at the airport, keeping travelers safe, and thanks to a $5 million grant from the Transportation Security Administration, there will soon be a lot more. The new cameras will be added to terminals, which will allow the airport control center to monitor the facilities with a graphical user interface program that maps all the cameras at SFO. Personnel will be able to switch quickly from camera to camera. Cameras already monitor the airfield and roadways, as well as the terminals, baggage areas, and security checkpoints.
The goal is that the new system will allow security agents to respond to incidents more quickly. According to Edward Gomez of the TSA, SFO's CCTV system is one of the best in the nation. He says it has helped officials respond to illegal activity and has been helpful overall with day-to-day airport operations.
SFO is hoping the new cameras will take about three months to install. While the TSA has been adding extra security to airports since 9/11, this particular program has been in place since before the terrorist attacks. After the Christmas Day 2009 bomb attempt, the TSA is also adding whole-body scanners to the nation's airports. SFO currently has body scanners in its international terminal according to the San Francisco Examiner, however, Mayor Gavin Newsom would like to see them in all of the airport's terminals.
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