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Lambert bomb detection program expands to other airports

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis – Airports across the country will be getting bomb specialists like the ones that have been at Lambert Airport in St. Louis since 2003.

The Transportation Security Administration announced Tuesday that 300 Bomb Appraisal Officers will be hired at about 100 airports over the next year and a half.

The officers, known as BAOs, train other security workers to detect suspicious items as they go through X-rays.

TSA Federal Security Director Bill Switzer said they also prevent unnecessary lock-downs by determining if an item is NOT a bomb.

"One good thing about the BAO program is not only to increase the layer of security, but it also minimizes the number of closures that occur throughout airports," Switzer said.

Lambert Airport currently has two BAOs and will hire two more by 2009.