After years of work, Jackson’s TSA PreCheck office came online last week and began accepting applications for background checks.
Northsiders welcome the news, because they no longer have to travel to Vicksburg to sign up for the service.
Jackson City Clerk Angela Harris, who took over for the former city clerk in late January, is glad to see the office open.
“From the first of January until this point, the ball has been in my court. I feel very proud that I have been able to see this project through to its completion,” she said.
Officials with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) were installing equipment at the office last week.
The office is located at Jackson City Hall, at 219 S. President St., in downtown Jackson. The office is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to noon, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Officials in the clerk’s office had hoped to open the office in April. However, the opening was pushed back because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
With COVID still a reality, Jackson Public Information Officer Meagan Gosa doesn’t expect precheck applications to pour in, something that will give employees time to work out any bugs before travel again picks up.
The office takes applications for TSA PreCheck, as well as the agency’s TWIC and HTAP programs. The office also will take passport photos.
Precheck affords travelers an expedited pre-flight screening check.
Among advantages, travelers don’t have to take off their shoes, belts or light jackets during the screening, nor do they have to take computers or electronic devices out of their bags.
At many airports, there are also dedicated precheck lines, which move passengers through much faster than traditional lines.
TWIC, the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program, is required for individuals needing to access secure areas of the nation’s maritime facilities and vessels, according to the TSA website.
HTAP, the HAZMAT Endorsement Threat Assessment Program, is needed for individoals with commercial licenses who transport hazardous materials on the interstate highway system.
Jackson began working on a TSA office in 2014.
That year, the office was asked by the then-mayor Tony Yarber to investigate ways to generate revenues. She contacted Rep. Bennie Thompson’s office which recommended looking into precheck processing. She then reached out to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) without success.
In 2019, unrelated to the city’s attempt in 2014, the FAA contacted former City Clerk Kristi Moore. “They called our office and asked if we knew of a location in Jackson, and I said we were interested, and that’s where the conversation went,” she said at the time.
City staffers will take applications for those certifications and submit them to Idemia Identity and Security U.S.A., which will conduct background checks and process the applications.
The city council approved bringing on Idemia in August 2019. The firm will be paid per application process.