Inspectors to be trained for several jobs

| 9/4/2003

The Department of Homeland Security plans to train thousands of inspectors at airports, seaports and highway border crossings so that each can conduct immigration, customs and agriculture checks, functions now performed by three different people, The New York Times reported.

DHS Secretary Tom Ridge said 5,000 law-enforcement officers who work at immigration and customs would be trained to work as federal air marshals so they could be shifted to airliner duty when the department thought the hijacking threat was high.

The cross-training will help the department respond better to intelligence tips, Ridge said. "You've got to be as adroit and flexible as the enemy," Ridge said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.