TSA struggles to fill vacant positions at Alaska’s airports

ANCHORAGE — The Transportation Security Administration says it’s having difficulty filling the open positions at more than a dozen airports across Alaska.

Several factors have been attributed to the TSA’s hiring challenges, including the rural locations of airports and Alaska’s high cost of living, The Alaska Dispatch News reported (http://bit.ly/1Q4Hvas).

As of Jan. 28, the agency had vacancies at Fairbanks, Anchorage, Cordova, Kodiak, Adak, Bethel, Nome, Kotzebue, Barrow, Juneau, Wrangell, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Sitka and Yakutat.

“I know there are other states that are considered hard-to-hire states where they have similar types of things,” said TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers, citing North Dakota as an example. “But I think Alaska is the most concentrated in terms of airports and the number of opportunities here.”

The federal government’s official job site lists 21 TSA officer positions available in the state. But Dankers says the need is much higher as the agency looks to find new hires for the summer, Alaska’s busiest travel season.

“I will tell you, based on what I’ve seen, it’s much higher than that,” she said.

To deal with vacancies, the TSA has its own National Deployment Force. Officers are sent to airports on an as-needed basis to places “that require a greater number of security personnel than is available,” according to a TSA fact sheet.

The agency used the deployment force to supplement security at Alaska airports at an average cost of $4.1 million a year from fiscal years 2010 to 2015, the fact sheet states.

However, the goal is for Alaska to not have to rely on temporary officers, said Pete Duffy, assistant federal security director for screening in Alaska.

“We would rather have folks that are actually from those communities, or if not, at least a permanent party there because they become more ingrained in the communities,” Duffy said. “That’s an important part of security too is understanding the community.”

TSA officials say they have increased efforts to attract potential candidates by raising pay to account for Alaska’s cost of living and offering more full-time positions.


Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com

More in News

The Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Encore docks in Juneau in October, 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for t​​he Week of Oct. 1

Here’s what to expect this week.

This image from House Television shows Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., the Speaker Pro Tempore, presiding as the House passes a 45-day funding bill on Saturday at the Capitol in Washington. The House vote was 335-91. The measure now goes to the Senate, which also is meeting Saturday. (House Television via AP)
On the brink of a federal shutdown, the House passes a 45-day funding plan and sends it to Senate

Peltola, still in Alaska after husband’s death, abstains from vote, but offers statement of support.

This is a photo taken at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in July. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Forest Service, Tlingit and Haida to co-steward Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area

Tribe dedicated to “protection of the historic and cultural resources in the area,” president says.

Retiring Deputy Chief David Campbell, left, and City and Borough of Juneau Manager Rorie Watt, right, smile for a photo Friday afternoon during a ceremony held at the Juneau Police Station. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Juneau’s deputy and interim police chief retires after 28 years

David Campbell honored for his service during a ceremony Friday afternoon.

Violinist/vocalist Chelsey Green, seen here with her Green Project ensemble in 2022, is scheduled to perform Oct. 4 and 5 during the Juneau Jazz and Classics Fall Music Festival. (Photo courtesy of Chelsey Green)
This fall’s Juneau Jazz and Classics offers the world on a string

Cellos and violins will be playing rock, folk, baroque, fusion and traditional at five-day festival.

(Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Police investigate ‘random’ drive-by pellet gun attack downtown

A person in a white SUV reportedly shot at two women Wednesday night.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Derek Bos of Colorado smiles for a photo Thursday evening outside of City Hall. Bos is one of two finalists seeking the chief position at the Juneau Police Department. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Chief finalist says building trust in schools and faith-based communities a priority

He addresses past controversial arrests of two school district administrators in Colorado.

Most Read