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LA World Airports asst. chief nominated for federal homeland security post

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An assistant chief with the L.A. World Airports police department is in line for a key job in the federal Department of Homeland Security. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall says President Obama announced the nomination on Thursday.

The president has tapped Erroll Southers as assistant Homeland Security secretary. If Congress approves his nomination, Southers would manage the federal Transportation Security Administration. Right now, he’s based pretty close to many of those airport screeners – he’s in charge of intelligence and emergency operations with the L.A. World Airports police.

Southers is a former FBI special agent and Santa Monica police detective who has worked as deputy director of California’s homeland security office. Southers has taught about homeland security and public policy in USC’s School of Policy, Planning and Development, where he’s studying for a doctorate, and he’s a senior fellow with UCLA’s School of Public Affairs. In a statement, federal Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano said Southers’ expertise in counterterrorism and airport security would be a great asset to the department.