L.A.’s rail system will be first in the U.S. to use scanners that detect explosives

Los Angeles County’s rail system will begin using portable body scanners in an effort to detect possible weapons of mass destruction, reports Laura J. Nelson for the LA Times. LA will be the first city in the U.S. to use scanners.

The devices, which look like trunks, can be moved to any of the 93 light-rail or subway stations. They can be deployed during events that attract crowds, or when there is a specific terrorist threat.

The scanners can find weapons from 30 feet away using radio waves. They can search roughly 2,000 people in an hour, and do not require passengers to queue or slow foot traffic. While 2,000 people an hour is only a small percentage of average crowds, it is an improvement on prior equipment.

Passengers will be warned of the search before being scanned.

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