The Los Angeles subway will soon install portable body scanners to screen passengers for weapons and explosives, a first for a mass transit system in the US.
The scanners can detect metallic and non-metallic objects, including plastic explosives, 3D printed guns and ceramic knives, on a person's body from 30 feet away, according to Thruvision, the UK-based company providing the scanners. Deployment of the scanners, which are capable of screening more than 2,000 passengers per hour without slowing their progress through the subway station, is expected to begin in the coming months, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
"We're dealing with persistent threats to our transportation systems in our country," Transportation Security Administration Administrator David Pekoske told the AP. "Our job is to ensure security in the transportation systems so that a terrorist incident does not happen on our watch."
Officials who demonstrated the new machines on Tuesday said the scanners are focused on detecting weapons that can cause a mass-casualty event.
"We're looking for explosive vests, we're looking for assault rifles," Alex Wiggins, who runs the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's law enforcement division, told the AP. "We're not necessarily looking for smaller weapons that don't have the ability to inflict mass casualties."
Wiggins wouldn't say how many machines the system is purchasing, but said they would be rolled out after employees and police officers had been trained on their use.
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