WASHINGTON — After meeting Monday with federal officials, Gov. Gray Davis said he hopes to get approval within 30 days to allow California Highway Patrol officers to serve as sky marshals on flights within the state.
The governor also wants federal approval to expand the duties of National Guard troops at California airports to include random searches of checked baggage. Currently, they are limited to checking carry-on bags at security checkpoints.
Davis met in Washington Monday with Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and Federal Aviation Administration chief Jane Garvey, whom he described as receptive to his ideas.
“Both proposals were received with interest,” Davis said.
Davis first made the sky marshal proposal a month ago, explaining that CHP officers take 7,800 work-related flights a year. The highway patrol officers’ union has raised questions about the idea, but has not voiced opposition.
Davis described both proposals as essentially free. CHP officers would serve as marshals only on flights they already would be taking, and airports would not need more National Guard troops to expand the reservists’ duties.
The governor headed from his meeting with transportation officials to tour the Pentagon crash site. He also will visit the World Trade Center site in New York on Tuesday. The itinerary for his East Coast trip also includes a visit to his mother in Florida and two campaign fund-raising events in New York.
Davis was not the only California official on attacks-related business on the East Coast.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was in New York on Monday to testify before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, and to present $244,305 to New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
The money, for the survivors of the police and firefighters who died in the collapse of the Trade Center buildings, was raised by the sheriff’s department through the sales of memorial bracelets and bumper stickers.