New security badges are being issued at airports across the nation, including Lindbergh Field, after an NBC investigation found hundreds of badges reported missing.
The IDs, called Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) badges and Sterile Area active badges, allow thousands of San Diego airport employees access to the most secure areas.
Right now, Lindberg Field has more than 7,000 security badges held by active employees, tenants and contractors. The Transportation Security Administration told NBC 7 back in July it planned to crack down on ID badge compliance.
This was after the NBC Dallas Fort Worth Investigates Team found thousands of security badges at airports across the nation were missing.
Here in San Diego, 276 ID badges from Lindbergh Field employees or contractors were reported missing during a recent two-year period.
NBC 7 Investigates found more than 20 of those ID badges were missing for six days or more before they were reported. In one case, eight months went by.
Glen Winn, an aviation security expert with 36 years of airline and airport security experience, said the re-badging process will make Lindberg Field safer.
“There’s a safety reason and a security reason for that. Because who got those other badges? And what access do they have?” Winn said.
The Airport Authority typically conducts criminal history record checks for the past 10 years for new hires. Now, during a re-badging process, they'll also do an additional two-year criminal background check.
“So, you may have some people working for you that you don’t want working for you anymore,” Winn said. “Because they may have had some type of criminal act that their supervisor wasn’t aware of and they’re out on bond and you don’t want that.”
The Airport Authority declined an on-camera interview saying information regarding specific plans and procedures on the re-issuance of badges is a security measure they would rather not discuss publicly.
NBC 7 Investigates asked, but did not receive figures on how much the process will take or how long it will take to complete.
Winn said it will be “very, very expensive.”