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Tampa among Air Marshal offices to close

12:35 AM, Feb 28, 2014   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida - The Federal Air Marshal Service is closing down six offices nationwide, including its Tampa location.

According to the Air Marshal Service, their operating budget was $996 million, but over the last three years, it's been operating on $805 million.

But will the Tampa offices impending closure be an issue for passenger safety?

The Transportation and Security Administration, which oversees the Air Marshal Service, said no in a statement released to 10 News on Thursday.

"As part of efforts to reallocate our workforce to allow the most effective security in the most efficient manner, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is realigning Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) field offices, while maintaining the FAM workforce.

To be clear, no positions are being eliminated and this will not adversely impact the ability of the FAMS to maintain coverage aboard flights arriving from and departing for the affected airports.  The realignment ensures the safety and security of the traveling public while maximizing coverage of flights representing the greatest risk for terrorist activity."

Still, a TSA spokesperson would not release the number of employees who would be relocated to offices nationwide as a result of the closure.

While air marshals will no longer be based here, they will still board flights in and out of Tampa International Airport.

"It's always reassuring to know that one of these guys could be armed and ready to take on any bad guys," said Michael Jennings who arrived from Baltimore to Tampa International Airport on Thursday night.

Tampa's Air Marshal office will close at the end of this year with remaining closures in San Diego, Pittsburg, Phoenix, Cleveland and Cincinnati to be done by 2016.

According to the T.S.A., Tampa International Airport is not considered high risk when compared to airports with more international flights, like New York's LaGuardia or Washington's Dulles airport.

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