MIAMI (CBSMiami) – At South Florida’s major airports Thursday, passengers should expect delays. As America pauses to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, airports have beefed up security and added additional security checkpoints.
With the world now talking about possible threats from ISIS, federal law enforcement in South Florida used this anniversary to make sure their every day efforts to protect us are as visible as possible.
On roads heading into Miami International Airport, there is plenty of security visible but once inside the terminal, there’s a lot of security you can’t see, including officers trained to analyze passenger behavior and high-tech detection devices to pick up traces of banned substances.
Just beyond the electronic sign which greets everyone who drives into the airport and past the giant American flag which flies at half-staff today, cars and trucks are being stopped and checked.
A woman from Cuba told CBS4’s Brian Andrews in Spanish that she knows it’s because of September 11th and she doesn’t mind the wait.
It’s been a while since we’ve so much security on the main terminal road. There are bright orange cones, armed officers in bright green vests, explosive detection dogs and mirrors to check the undercarriage of arriving vehicles.
While Miami-Dade Police Sgt. Steve Czyzewski wasn’t at the airport on September 11, 2001, he said it’s a day no one will ever forget.
At a second checkpoint on Perimeter Road, drivers don’t mind being stopped.
“Not a problem.” said one driver.
“Most of the people are leaving with a smile, realizing we’re doing this for them,” said Sgt. Czyzewski.
So far at the main checkpoint at MIA, there haven’t been any issues but at the second checkpoint, police picked up a guy who was wanted for deportation. Two other drivers were arrested on traffic related charges.
As they guarded against threats at the airports, police were checking out a phoned in threat at the offices of the Miami-Dade County Commission.
The commission chambers were cleared and parts of the government center were swept for explosives.
The mayor issued a statement saying it was done out of an abundance of caution. Nothing was found, but county business was disrupted and meetings were cancelled.
As for the security check points, those going to the airport will continue to be stopped until late Thursday evening.
Miami-Dade police say the checkpoints will be operating until 10:00 p.m.
There are similar security checkpoint operations taking place at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Amid the hustle and bustle of security measures at each airport, officials had ceremonies to remember those lost on 9/11.
Bag pipes played as the airport fire chief and police major set down a wreath at the flag of honor. It’s a memorial on the American Airlines concourse bearing the names of all who died that day.
“Just wanted everyone to pause, reflect, and remember what happened 13 years ago today,” said airport spokesperson John Heffernan.