BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The NFTA and Homeland Security are showing their strength at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Authorities added an extra layer of security for incoming cars Wednesday morning.
The counter terrorism project is called Operation Viper, for Visual Intermodal Prevention Response. Officers are checking cars as part of the anti-terrorism task force. The checks are in danger of coming to an end.
"We do this on a regular basis. It's a multi-agency effort this morning," said NFTA Police Chief George Gast. "Primarily we're looking for weapons or explosives. We do have our K-9 explosive detective, K-9 dogs here to help secure the airport, to make sure it's safe here for our traveling public."
These checks are done regularly at the airport, bus stations and railways. While officers are always looking for possibly hazards, more than anything, these are done to let people know that officers are out here.
Gast said, "It's visibility. It's a deterrent, that's a big part of it. We obviously want people to know we're taking a proactive approach to our counter terrorism efforts."
Events like the foiled terror plot in Ontario are why Chief Gast says these operations need to happen. "There's people out there whose objective is to harm citizens of the United States and our objective is to be proactive, to stop those events from taking place."
They are in danger of losing funding. A government grant is expiring at the end of the month which funds counter terrorism investigations. The NFTA is working with Senator Charles Schumer's office to re apply for the grant. The previous one was for three years and $2.2 million. Chief Gast said he would like to get that grant again, but he will do anything he can to keep the unit going.
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