It had to happen. Technology gets more efficient. What the TSA has in airports your local police department will have in vans: body scanners that operate at a distance.
There will be scanners in police vans. If you are carrying anything metallic, you will be spotted.
The Chief of Police has submitted an order for these devices.
If Kelly gets his wish, the city will be receiving a whole slew of Terahertz Imagining Detection scanners, a high-tech radiation detector that measures the energy that is emitted from a persons’ body. As CBS News reports, “It measures the energy radiating from a body up to 16 feet away, and can detect anything blocking it, like a gun.”
What it can also do, however, is allow the NYPD to conduct illegal searches by means of scanning anyone walking the streets of New York. Any object on your person could be privy to the eyes of the detector, and any suspicious screens can prompt police officers to search someone on suspicion of having a gun, or anything else under their clothes.
This raises a Constitutional issue.
The scanners also raise the question of whether such searches would even be legal under the US Constitution. Under the Fourth Amendment, Americans are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. Does scoping out what’s on someone’s person fall under the same category as a hands-on frisk, though?
To the NYPD, it might not matter. In the first quarter of 2011, more than 161,000 innocent New Yorkers were stopped and interrogated on the streets of the city. Figures released by the NYPD in May of last year revealed that of the over 180,000 stop-and-frisk encounters reported by the police department, 88 percent of them ended in neither an arrest nor a summons, leading many to assume that New York cops are already going above and beyond the law by searching seemingly anyone they chose.
Then there is the issue of keeping the military out of local law enforcement.
CBS News adds that the plan puts the NYPD in direct cooperation with the Department of Defense, who is working on testing the scanners to find a way to bring them to the streets.