Wichita, Kan. Airport Gets New Surveillance Cameras

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- In an effort to better monitor customer service and claims of lost or stolen items, Wichita Mid-Continent Airport has become one of six airports nationwide that have installed new surveillance cameras in passenger screening areas.

Keith Osborn, federal security director for Mid-Continent, said the new camera setup will help airport officials track interaction between screeners and passengers.

The $600,000 system includes 48 cameras, tucked into glass balls cupped in white plastic, which will record activity in the passenger and baggage screening areas.

Similar systems have been installed at airports in Cleveland; New Orleans; El Paso, Texas; Green Bay, Wis.; and Jacksonville, Fla.

''We're lucky we're number six,'' Osborn said. ''They have learned lessons at each airport, and they've benefited from that.''

Mid-Continent's new system, which was installed about three weeks ago and started capturing images last week, was shown off during a news conference Friday at which officials also discussed a ban on cigarette lighters that goes into effect next week.

Starting Thursday, passengers nationwide will not be allowed to carry any kind of lighter onto a plane, but can have up to four books of matches. Neither lighters nor matches will be allowed in checked bags.

Osborn recommends that passengers go through each of their bags before packing for any trip to make sure there are no banned items in them. He said Transportation Security Administration workers know the lighter ban will require changes in the habits for some passengers.

For their part, smokers at Mid-Continent on Friday didn't seem upset over the new ban.

''They should do whatever they need to do for safety,'' said Chasity Schon of Wichita.