Port of Port Angeles increasing security after airport break-ins

Lighting, cameras to be considered with extra patrols

PORT ANGELES — A number of thefts and vehicle break-ins at Fairchild International Airport and the Industrial Park has the Port of Port Angeles set to make some adjustments in security.

“We have had several thefts of items from the long-term parking at the airport, and we have also had some theft of items from the airport industrial park,” said Paul Jarkiewicz, director of operations for the port, during the organization’s Jan. 10 meeting.

There have been at least six incidents of theft over the last two months, Jarkiewicz said, including vehicle break-ins, gas siphoning and most recently the theft of an equipment trailer owned by one of the tenants at the port.

“They were storing their trailer in an open lot and they had a ring camera that alerted them to the break-in,” Port Executive Director Geoff James said. “They went there, followed the person that broke in, and called the police who recovered his stuff.”

The port has its own security team that does regular patrols of the airport parking lot and the industrial park and has a video surveillance system, but it is not regularly monitored, Jarkiewicz said.

“We have very little surveillance of the long-term parking lot outside of our security patrols,” he said.

James said in light of these thefts, the port will revise its patrols and look more into cameras and lighting in the parking lot to deter would-be thieves.

“We have revised how we are patrolling and the number of patrols that we do,” James said.

“We are looking at getting more lighting. Some of the lighting that needs to get done is under the auspices of the city, so we have a work order into the city for that,” he said.

In terms of cameras, the port does not have an operations center that has someone monitoring different areas of the airport all the time, but the camera system is able to alert its patrols to an issue.

Though the port has its own security team, it has partnered at times with the Port Angeles Police Department (PAPD) when instances have occurred that are out of the scope of management for its security team.

“If we needed to, we could develop an interlocal agreement with the PAPD to come out and do a patrol, but we are not at that level yet,” James said.

“Even though we’ve had an increased number of incidents, I don’t think it’s a trend, but we are watching it very closely, and why we wanted to inform the commissioners of some of the changes.”

Port Commissioner Connie Beauvais said she is glad action is being taken now to improve the security in the long-term parking lot, as it’s is likely to grow in popularity when Dash Air prepares to take flight this spring.

“I would think that, as Dash Air moves in and they start flying, we will see more of that, long-term parking, so now is a good time to address those issues,” Beauvais said.


Reporter Ken Park can be reached by email at kpark@peninsuladailynews.com.

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