In an effort to make New York streets safer, the NYPD is planning to implement a new technology that allows police to detect guns without using the pat-down procedure.
The technology detects terahertz, which is the natural energy people and inanimate objects emit. Once something obstructs the radiation, like a concealed weapon, the device "highlights" that object so it is in clear view.
At the Police Foundation breakfast on Wednesday, an officer tested out the device. Dressed in a New York Jets jersey and jeans, he looked like an average citizen. But when the device was pointed at him, his concealed weapon was clearly outlined.
Soon, the NYPD will test the device on the streets. They plan to place them in police vehicles or street corners where violence and gunplay has been high.
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Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly first discussed the technology last year, and has been working with the London Metropolitan Police and a contractor to develop the right device for their needs.
"We took delivery of it last week," Kelly said. "One of our requirements was that the technology must be portable. We still have a number of trials to run before we can determine how best to deploy this technology."
"We're also talking to our legal staff about this. But we're very pleased with the progress we've made over the past year."
Others are not as excited about the technology. Some security experts say the technology could produce false positives that lead to "unjustified stops." The New York Civil Liberties Union also expressed concerns about "virtual pat downs" last year.