Logo: University of Southern California

LAXPD Bestows LA Honors on Viterbi School Security System Builders

CREATE-funded software credited with numerous arrests
Eric Mankin
February 26, 2009 —

The Los Angeles World Airport Police gave special commendations from the city of Los Angeles to the USC Viterbi School of Engineering creators of the ARMOR security scheduling system, and to the two officers who put it to effective day-to-day use.

At a morning meeting of leaders of the force, Chief George Centeno began the program with the awards to Professor of Computer Science Milind Tambe, four USC students, Lt. Tyrone Tavin and Sgt. Ernest Cruz. 

from left: USC undergrad Craig Western, grad student Shyamsundar Rathi, grad student Manish Jain; Prof.  Milind Tambe, Chief George Centeno, Sgt. Ernest Cruz, Lt. Tyrone Tauzin, grad student James PIta, Assistant Chief Erroll G. Southers.

The Individualized plaques specifed the contributions ARMOR has made to police operations at L.A. World airport.

"To merit this commendation you have performed an exceptional service to the Airport police Division, the Los Angeles World Airports and the city of Los Angeles, reads the language on the commendations. "Your outstanding service facilitates the critical link between the laboratory and the operational world. Thank you for your outstanding contributions to the security of our nation."

ARMOR, ("Assistant for Randomized Monitoring over Routes") funded by the Department of Homeland Security’s National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) at USC aims to keep wrongdoers from being able to predict airport security operations by systematically randomizing them, using an algorithm adopted from game theory.

for "outstanding contributions to the security of our nation"
The system was first put into trial use by USC police and subsequently brought to the attention of LAX law enforcement by former FBI agent, LA World Airport Police Deputy Chief  and CREATE Associate Director Erroll Southers, who was present at the awards. ARMOR has been in use at LAX since 2007, first experimentally, now as a tested daily tool. "And it's catching a lot of perps," said Sgt. Cruz.

The awards coincided with a newscast [see below] that highlighted the contribution of the system, which is credited with numerous arrests for illegal firearms and narcotics. Chief Centano said that the ARMOR system was an element supporting the reputation of LAX as one of the nation’s most secure airports.

"The success of ARMOR is an excellent example of academic research contributing to real-world solutions, fitting directly in line with CREATE's mission of countering terrorism," said CREATE director Isaac Maya.

ARMOR is not standing still. According to Tambe, a new version customized for the U.S. Air Marshalls is scheduled for delivery in March for testing, and may be in use as soon as April.

Also contributing to ARMOR and awarded commendations, but unable to be at the ceremony were Associate Professor Fernando Ordonez of the Viterbi School's Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering;  and Professor Sarit Kraus of Bar-Ilan University.