New Training System Designed To Help Airport Screening Officers

training system

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A new training system has been designed to train more efficiently airport screening officers. The Office for Public Safety Research within the Department of Homeland Security‘s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) has built a training system designed to help Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel conduct airport screening tasks.

TSA Security Officers are tasked with, among other things, screening every bag boarding commercial aircraft within the United States within one of 7,000 baggage screening areas at over 700 security checkpoints. Baggage screener accuracy is very important, and screeners are required to complete training both before going on the job and while employed, including one-on-one mentoring and software-based training that adapts difficulty based on a behavioral response, according to dhs.gov.

DHS said ScreenADAPT X-ray image analysis training system uses visual search research and eye-tracking technology in addition to behavioral responses to assess TSA officers’ visual search performance, according to executivegov.com.

ScreenADAPT is built as an innovative and adaptive training module with an eye-tracking tool that works to help TSA trainers and trainees analyze if potential errors were made during bag screening as well as record trainees’ performance metrics and compare results with their peers.

DHS added the system offers diagnostic metrics on TSO performance to evaluate trainers’ and trainees’ needs, and develop individualized training solutions.

“The different types of training address the corresponding root causes of the errors and assist in building each TSO’s mental threat image library,” said Darren Wilson, ScreenADAPT program manager at OPS-R.

TSA deployed 50 ScreenADAPT systems at airports located in Houston, Las Vegas, New York, Pittsburgh, Portland and Raleigh in an effort to assess the effectiveness of the training support tool.

Preliminary data from the assessment showed that ScreenADAPT helped increase efficiency at the research airports by approximately 45%, DHS noted.

Existing training software is limited. The current training uses example after example until a TSO becomes more proficient. This training method is not adaptive to an individual’s needs, does not leverage the latest training methods or technology, and does not identify the root causes of a TSO’s deficiencies.