L.A. Metro to Add Body Scanners

L.A. Metro to Add Body Scanners

The Los Angeles Metro will be the first public transit system in the United States to purchase millimeter wave scanners to screen riders for suspicious objects such as weapons and explosives, officials announced Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Metro will be the first public transit system in the United States to purchase millimeter wave scanners to screen riders for suspicious objects such as weapons and explosives, officials announced Tuesday. The portable scanners will be deployed in the coming months, according to Alex Wiggins, who runs the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s law enforcement division.

The portable scanner machines can scan more than 2,000 passengers per hour, detecting metallic and non-metallic objects on a person’s body from 30 feet away. Signs will be posted at stations to inform passengers of the body scanner screening. The process is voluntary, Wiggins said, but people who choose to opt out of screening won’t be able to ride on the metro.

“We’re looking specifically for weapons that have the ability to cause a mass-casualty event,” Wiggins said. “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.”

In addition to the portable scanners, the agency also plans to purchase body scanners that resemble cameras on tripods and are able to move around and focus in on specific people and angles.

The TSA has tested body scanners in New York’s Penn Station, as well as Union Station in Washington, D.C., and at a New Jersey Transit station during the 2014 Super Bowl. In December, a man injured himself by setting off a crude pipe bomb strapped to his chest in a subway hallway near Times Square in New York City.

The Metro’s Red Line sees about 150,000 passengers daily, and the subway system counted more than 112 million rides last year, according to officials.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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