A new device will soon be used by police to detect concealed guns carried by criminals, avoiding the “stop and frisk” pat-down procedure (which is apparently constitutional in just one borough of New York), reports the Daily News.
A new scanning machine reads terahertz, the natural energy released by humans and inanimate objects, and will enable police to see weapons from a distance. It works by highlighting objects that block the flow of radiation, such as a gun.
The machine was tested at the Police Foundation breakfast on Wednesday and an image produced by the device showed a visible gun underneath the clothing of an officer when the gun was hidden when viewed by the naked eye. This device will soon be used on the street, either in police cars or on corners where guns were used in the past.
The possibility of using this technology was first brought into discussion last year by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, and he said the NYPD has been working with the London Metropolitan Police and a contractor since last year to create a tool like this that was portable.
The New York Civil Liberties Union raised concern about “virtual pat downs,” and the possibility of the device detecting false positives and resulting in unjustified searches.