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Security Chief Who Hired 2,700 LAX Screeners to Leave

May 07, 2003|Jennifer Oldham | Times Staff Writer

A retired Navy officer who helped Los Angeles International Airport meet daunting federal aviation security deadlines will leave his post May 19.

Former Rear Adm. David Stone, the airport's federal security director for the Transportation Security Administration, said he will move back to Arlington, Va., and is considering a career in the private sector. His deputy director, Larry Fetters, a former LAPD deputy chief, will take over as the acting federal security director.

Stone, a popular, charismatic figure who greets screeners by name on frequent walks through the airport's nine terminals, cited several milestones during his 11-month tenure.

He hired 2,700 screeners in two months last fall and, working with the city agency that operates the airport, figured out by a Dec. 31 deadline how to shoehorn dozens of explosives detection machines into airport lobbies to screen all checked baggage. More bags are checked at LAX than at any other airport in the nation.

Stone, who retired from the Navy last year after 28 years, worked with city and state agencies to compile security plans that dictate what happens at the airport when the nation's terror alert level is raised to orange or red.

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