TSA officers continue to work despite furlough

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Transportation Security Officers across the U.S. are continuing to work during this furlough.

"TSA officers, TSA canine handlers and their canines, TSA explosives experts, TSA inspectors-all frontline security personnel--will be working. They will not be getting paid during the furlough. However, historically they have gotten paid once the furlough ends," said Thomas Kelly, spokesperson, in a statement for the Transportation Security Administration.

Passengers at Eisenhower National Airport and airports across the U.S. are still being screened by TSA officers.

"When they don't get paid this Friday, I think they're going to start to feel the pinch and I'd like to see the shutdown end as soon as possible," said Sandy Herman, passenger.

"President Trump's trying to make a point. We need better border security. If this is what it takes to do it, well then, I say, 'Let's do it.' We all need to stand together for the United States," said Sherry Prevost, Kansas resident.

American Federation of Government Employees TSA Council President Hydrick Thomas said in a news release, "Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck. Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown.” 

He added, "The loss of officers, while we’re already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travelers since we don’t have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires. Our TSOs already do an amazing job without the proper staffing levels, but if this keeps up there are problems that will arise - least of which would be increased wait times for travelers.”

The TSA said,"We understand that the current lapse in funding may be causing added stress for our workforce and want to continue to express that we are grateful to the more than 51,000 officers across the country who remain focused on the mission and are respectful to the traveling public as they continue the important work necessary to secure the nation’s transportation systems."

A total of 160 TSA screeners are based in Kansas, with a majority at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport.

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