SOURCE: Los Angeles World Airports

May 24, 2006 13:30 ET

Los Angeles World Airports Names James T. Butts Jr. to New Airport Law Enforcement Executive Position

(NOTE TO EDITORS: James Butts Jr. will be introduced at a news conference at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon at LAX. The already scheduled news conference will cover Memorial Day and Summer Travel Forecasts at LAX and Ontario Airports. It will feature U.S. Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security Kip Hawley, who also heads the Transportation Security Administration.)

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 24, 2006 -- Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Executive Director Lydia H. Kennard today announced the appointment of James T. Butts Jr. to the new position of Deputy Executive Director of Airport Law Enforcement & Protection Services.

The police chief of the City of Santa Monica for the past 15 years, Butts will oversee the nation's largest airport law enforcement and security organization. He will be responsible for leading the more than 1,200 sworn and civilian personnel assigned to protect and serve at LAWA's four airports -- Los Angeles International (LAX), Ontario International (ONT), Palmdale Regional (PMD) and Van Nuys (VNY). LAX, ONT and PMD combined serve more than 68 million passengers a year, while VNY is the world's busiest general aviation airport.

Butts, 52, will lead the LAWA police and security forces assigned to the four airports in three cities, as well as assume a pivotal role in collaborating and coordinating law enforcement and security duties performed by more than 4,000 federal and local officers. The largest of these outside agencies include the Transportation Security Administration (2,000 transportation security officers) and Customs and Border Protection (800 sworn officers).

Other agencies with a law enforcement presence at LAX include the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; Secret Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Air Marshal Program, among many others. In addition, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) maintains a substation at LAX.

Chief Butts will report to his new position in late summer following the completion of his responsibilities to ensure an orderly and effective transition of command at the Santa Monica Police Department.

"After a six-month nationwide search, we found the most qualified law enforcement professional for this important position right in our backyard in the neighboring community of Santa Monica," said Kennard. "We believe Chief Butts' commitment to the concept of community-based policing combined with his outstanding record in public safety, recruiting, training and harnessing technology makes him the ideal choice for this position."

Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners President Alan Rothenberg said, "The City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles World Airports are indeed fortunate to have recruited Chief Butts to lead the collaborative effort to secure one of the most important airport systems in the world. We believe Chief Butts is ideally suited and qualified to bring together the score of local and federal agencies working at our airports in a unified command approach."

The nationwide search that led to Chief Butts was conducted by Bob Murray & Associates of Roseville, Calif., a leading search firm for high-profile law enforcement positions. Forty-eight applicants representing a wide range of law enforcement, security and aviation backgrounds were considered. Murray has over 20 years of experience as a recruiter, with an extensive list of prior law enforcement and security-related searches conducted for a variety of jurisdictions across the country, including the most recent police chief's recruitment for the LAPD.

"The more than 85 airlines serving LAX and ONT are very pleased with the selection of Chief Butts," said Dennis Olson, managing director of the Airport Airline Affairs Committee. "He brings proven leadership to the airports' and the airlines' most important mission -- the safety and security of passengers and employees."

Under Chief Butts' leadership, violent crime in Santa Monica has reached its lowest level since 1957. Additionally, the crime rate has been significantly reduced by 63 percent since 1993 and continues to steadily decline. Citizen complaints against officers have fallen by more than 50 percent in the same time period. Average annual liability for the department is a very low $60,000 per year. Workers' compensation rates have fallen by 55 percent in the past five years.

The environmentally friendly Santa Monica Police Department is widely known for its effective use of state-of-the art technology and automated systems to reduce crime, improve operations, and to increase safety, security and service to the public. Chief Butts is also responsible for the Airport Security detail at Santa Monica Airport. His police department has worked with the California State Department of Homeland Security. He has experience in counter-terrorism planning related to the City of Santa Monica and Santa Monica Airport.

Before moving to his current position at Santa Monica in 1991, he served nearly 20 years at the City of Inglewood (Calif.) Police Department as a police officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and deputy chief. He has twelve years experience in Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) as an operator, team leader and commander.

A resident of the City of Los Angeles, Chief Butts holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from California State University-Los Angeles and a Master's in Business Administration from California Polytechnic University-Pomona. He also holds a number of command and management certificates from the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). He is a graduate of the POST Command College and a past president of the Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County.