- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 11, 2001

Virginia state troopers yesterday began to patrol the roads around Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, cracking down on unattended vehicles and adding to the already tightened security measures at the facility.
Gov. James S. Gilmore III at an appearance at Reagan National said the troopers were there to provide security around the perimeter of the building and make sure traffic continued to flow along the roads in the drop-off and pick-up zones. Mr. Gilmore said the state police have also begun to patrol Washington Dulles International Airport as well.
"We have reason to be vigilant," Mr. Gilmore said of the increased security, which includes dozens of armed Virginia National Guard troops stationed at Reagan National's four gate checkpoints.
The troopers patrolling the two airports are not being pulled from their regular duties and are working overtime with their wages paid by the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority, state police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said. All 1,400 troopers will also receive more in-depth training in February about how to spot terrorist activity.
After the attacks of Sept. 11, the federal government closed the airport, and Reagan National wasn't allowed to reopen until last Thursday. Before the attack, Reagan National saw 45,000 passengers daily. The airport generates more than $5 billion annually.
Federal security officials who fear the proximity of the airport to landmarks and government buildings in the District ordered many security measures be put in place before the airport could reopen, including the presence of National Guard troops and Federal Aviation Administration air marshals on board each commercial flight.
"I think it's one of the safest places in all the world," Mr. Gilmore said.
Some passengers at the airport who have gone through security complained that some of the frisking done by the private security guards was too aggressive.
"They are way too suspicious," said one woman, who asked not to be identified. She said she did not set off the metal detector, but security agents patted her down anyway.
Mr. Gilmore said security personnel need to use good judgment and respect the privacy of each person who walks through security checkpoints.
Tara Hamilton, a spokeswoman for the airports authority, said Reagan National's flights are only at 23 percent of what they were before the Sept. 11 attacks and the slowdown shows in the airport's nearly empty terminals.
Virginia Transportation Secretary Shirley J. Ybarra said the drop-off was to be expected after such a long furlough.
"We were all used to this rush hour," Miss Ybarra said of the heavy volume of people at the airport before the attacks.
Roger Berkowitz, owner of all 25 Legal Seafoods restaurants across the country, was at the Reagan National location yesterday and agreed that the sluggish pace of business was expected.
Mr. Berkowitz said he planned no layoffs at his eatery, though the restaurant's revenues have gone from a brisk $8,000 to $14,000 each day to a quarter of that now.
Mr. Berkowitz said the extra security will have travelers getting to the airport hours earlier before their flight, meaning they will have time to grab a bite to eat.
That was not the case, though, yesterday as he surveyed a restaurant full of empty tables.
"It feels like I got here on a Sunday morning just before the flights take off," Mr. Berkowitz said.

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