Uniformed police officers now helping with security at Bismarck Airport

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BISMARCK, N.D. - People may complain about long waits at the airport, but it's often in the name of security and there's something new at airport security in Bismarck.

A Police officer is now required to be there as passengers are boarding and exiting planes.

The officers are trained to help TSA and deal with situations police would usually be called for. The change has to do with the number of boardings.

Officer Andy Zachmeier is getting used to visiting airport guests from kids to adults.

"He asked my name, he asked if you were doing good and all that, I think he is really nice," said Sophia Becker, Dickinson

For about two months, he and other Bismarck Police officers have been helping TSA operations. The airport pays the department to have the law enforcement on site. The change has become necessary.

The uniformed officers became required when more than 250,000 passengers were boarding in Bismarck.

"Mainly it is in case there is an unruly passenger or something illegal is found in the bag by TSA that we get involved," said Andy Zachmeier, Bismarck Police officer

Zachmeier says he and other officers also take control of unsafe items found by TSA. He says he enjoys the new challenge that the program provides. Deputy Chief Randy Ziegler says it's running smoothly.

"Just the uniformed presence having a law enforcement person out there may deter some things from happening." - Randy Ziegler, Bismarck Police Deputy Chief

Ziegler says the department's goal is to always have a squad vehicle at the airport to let the public know there's police present.>

More than 270,000 people boarded flights at Bismarck Airport last year, a 4 and a half percent increase from the previous year.