• Sea-Tac hopes new app will address suspicious activity, maintenance problems

    By: Linzi Sheldon

    Updated:

    KIRO 7 has learned Sea-Tac International Airport plans to roll out a new app for reporting maintenance or safety issues, aimed at all 24,000 people who work at the airport, including restaurant workers, Port employees, airline employees, and Uber and taxi drivers. Members of the public could also be able to download it.

    “If it's something that's going to benefit the travelers, I think it's great,” traveler Christine Stolworthy said as she waited to reunite with high school friends after 40 years. “I think employees have-- I mean, they get to see it all.”

    People can use the app to take photos of anything from broken equipment to suspicious activity, both of which can affect a traveler’s trip and cause potential security concerns or delays. Instead of workers having to reach out to supervisors or track down the right manager to notify, the app will route the report to the correct person who can deal with it. It will also allow people to report their concerns anonymously. 

    “They’re the eyes and ears for us and the very first layer of our security,” Port of Seattle spokesperson Perry Cooper said. “They're going to see some things that are out of line. First, because they're aware of what normal looks like.”

    Last week, the Port approved moving forward to find a vendor and pointed to Denver International Airport's app as an example.

    “The idea is, it would have a direct map location on it as well, and then our people can then receive that information,” Cooper said. “Is that something we need to forward onto, say, our police? Our fire department, if it’s that serious? Or is it something we can just send along to our maintenance department?”

    Cooper said it could even identify potential human trafficking situations.

    “We'd rather people make that call or send that photo and we have the opportunity to follow up on it than not-- and it turns into something else down the line,” he said.

    KIRO 7 reporter Linzi Sheldon asked about concerns about potential racial profiling.

    “How does SeaTac review these reports and make sure that they're not discriminatory?” she asked.

    “That's going to quite honestly be based on the proposals that we see,” he said. “This would be all things we ask in the bid proposals.”

    In the first two months in Denver, the airport received more than 900 reports through the app, and more than 50-percent had a photo, making it easy to understand the issue. Of those reports, 82-percent were maintenance related.

    “If they report it and it can be done quickly, rather than finding a phone, finding someone, whatever, it would expedite the process,” traveler Christine Stolworthy said.

    The Port of Seattle expects the app to cost $1.5 million over ten years and hopes to roll it out mid-2020.
     


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