Medford, OR -

The Medford airport has signed a deal with a private security company that will replace city police officers with armed guards.

Airport officials told the Mail Tribune the five-year deal will save a little more $150,000 annually.

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners approved the contract Wednesday with RAMS Specialized Security Service.

The airport pays Medford police $48.75 per hour for 17 hours of work per day, totaling more than $300,000 this year.

Under its contract with RAMS, the airport will pay $24.20 per hour for the staffing. That totals just over $150,000.

Medford police have had a contract with the airport since 2006. But Transportation Security Administration funds that helped pay for them have been reduced, leaving the airport to make up the difference.

The guards will be stationed at screening and check-in points.