In the United States of America, Los Angeles will be the first US city that will begin equipping its subways with body scanners. However, the Southern California metropolis is not making use of the bulky, slow-operating models that are being used by the airports of the United States: Instead, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Los Angeles will deploy various portable trunk-sized scanners that can scan people from 30 feet away at a rate of 2,000 individuals per hour.
The scanners are made by Thruvision. According to the Los Angeles Times, the LA MTA will make use of the said scanners as a response to threats of terrorism or to scan huge crowds that are heading to sporting events or protests. A spokesperson disclosed that the scanner will cost approximately $100,000 per unit. He also said that it will use radio waves to pick out nonmetal explosives and guns that are hidden beneath clothing and highlight them on a split-screen display. The spokesperson added that the scanners are calibrated to pick out weapons that are capable of mass harm.
Per the Associated Press, Alex Wiggins, the law enforcement chief of the LA MTA, stated:”We’re looking specifically for weapons that have the ability to cause a mass-casualty event.”
He added: “We’re looking for explosive vests, we’re looking for assault rifles. We’re not necessarily looking for smaller weapons that don’t have the ability to inflict mass casualties.”
The transit authority of Los Angeles also has plans to buy another model of body scanner that looks like a TV camera that is mounted on a tripod. The said model can focus on individuals.
The trunk model of Thruvision was approved by the TSA for use as a mass-transit scanner during the past year. Previously, the agency tested body scanners at the Penn Station in New York City last February and the Union Station in Washington, D.C.