Thomas Frank
June 17, 2008

Editor’s note: Cops are worried “airline passengers will mistake screeners for law-enforcement officials with arrest powers,” and this is precisely the image the Ministry of Homeland Security wants to send. It’s all part of the emerging control grid where the color of law and tricking the commoners into acquiescence is the rule of the day.

WASHINGTON — Screeners at the nation’s airport checkpoints are going to start wearing police-style badges — but real officers aren’t too happy about it.

Some sworn officers fear airline passengers will mistake screeners for law-enforcement officials with arrest powers.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is starting to equip its 48,000 screeners with 3-inch-by-2-inch, silver-colored, copper and zinc badges that will be worn on new royal-blue police-style shirts.

The attire aims to convey an image of authority to passengers, who have harassed, pushed and in a few instances punched screeners. “Some of our officers aren’t respected,” TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe said.

Actual airport police, who carry guns and have arrest powers, worry that their own authority will be undercut by screeners who look like police. Every major airport has its own police department or is patrolled by local police.

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