NYPD Teams up With Department of Defense for New Body Search Technology

 The NYPD is teaming up with the Department of Defense to test new radiation technology that scans the body for guns, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said yesterday.  The devices would be placed on on top of vehicles, and could detect concealed weapons from up to 13 feet away, according to New York One

"It's called Terra-hertz imaging detection, and it’s essentially radiation that's emitted from the body that’s blocked by certain objects—a gun, for instance," Commissioner Kelly said.

The NYCLU has expressed concern over the new devices, saying technology that allows police to "see in your pockets as you walk down the street is deeply troubling." The NYCLU, however, also says that the high-tech pat-downs could reduce physical frisks by a half million a year, NY1 reports. The NYPD conducted514,461 stop-and-frisks in 2011, 79% of whom are black or Latino. Stop-and-frisks have also contributed to New York City's status as the "Marijuana Arrest Capitol of the World," albeit via illegal tactics. In New York, personal possession of up to 25 grahams of marijuana is decriminalized, unless it is burning or in public view. But NYPD officers often conduct stop-and-frisks, then pull pot out of people's pockets before unjustly charging them with the Class B misdemeanor of marijuana "in public view,"  an offense which can block access to student loans, federal housing, and employment opportunities. 

The new body scan technology is also an example of further police militarization. Noah Schactman, a national security writer for Wired magazine,  told NY1 the devices are a byproduct of what was developed for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sachtman told NY1:

Whether we’re talking about military-style body armor that you see on police units throughout the streets of New York, whether you're talking about drones which are coming to police departments throughout the country, or whether you're talking about something like this, military-style gear is coming to police departments of the city, and ours is no exception.

Kelly said the NYPD will use the the devices as soon as they meet their requirement. Read more about the new search technology here

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at January 18, 2012, 3:57am

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