SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Since 2012 the Syracuse Police Department has maintained the safety of Hancock International Airport in Syracuse, but soon that will change.

Thanks to a bill passed during the latest legislative session by lawmakers in Albany, the Airport Authority will now be able to hire and operate their own police force.

“This is just kind of the evolution of creating a real standalone airport authority,” said Jason Terreri, Executive Director of the Syracuse Airport Authority, “So we’re going to be creating our own police force, which is real similar to what other airport authorities have done around the country.”

“It’s to create a little bit more consistency, a little bit more command and control over the facility.”

Terreri says this will be helpful, especially during busy times at the airport.

“To be able to have a little bit more flexibility in our law enforcement and security posture, that’s going to become important.”

Even though these are not SPD officers, they still hold all of the same qualifications and responsibilities. Terreri says they hope to have all New York State officers make up the force who can use force and make arrests when necessary.

For folks traveling in and out of Hancock International, likely the only thing they will notice is a change in uniform.

“These officers will be Airport authority employees,” Terreri said, “That’s the difference.”

“It gives us a little bit more control over security posture at the airports and consistency with the number of officers, as well as the same officers here at the airport who will then start to get very familiar with our facility, our process, and then if something were out of place, they would notice it.”

The bill itself is still pending approval from Governor Hochul but once approved, Terreri said they expect to have the new patrols in place in 6 months.