NYPD exploring infrared technology

January 17, 2012 7:51:28 PM PST
The NYPD could have a new crime-fighting tool.

The department is looking at technology that's similar to infrared imaging.

It can detect a concealed weapon under someone's clothing.

There is nothing like this new scanning technology in use by police departments today.

Clearly the NYPD is in the forefront being able to test it, and there are big hopes for its effectiveness.

The man in a picture is hiding a weapon under his belt according to police.

The image detected it now revealed with new state of the art technology being developed by the Department of Defense.

"What it showed is that the outline of a gun can be fairly easily seen at a relatively short distance," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

The issue now, Commissioner Ray Kelly says, is that the scanners are about the size of a flat screen TV.

That's much too big to be portable for an officer to use it walking through a crowd of people.

"Radiation that can come from many things but can come from the human body. What it doesn't penetrate is metal or objects similar to metal," Kelly said.

It then leaves the image of that metal object.

It was first developed, the commissioner says, by the DOD to detect suicide bomb vests that have become a favorite weapon of terrorists.

"Technology being what it is, we are hopeful that the size and the range of this device, the range can be increased and the size decreased," Kelly said.

The commissioner says it could possibly affect the department's controversial stop and frisk efforts if fully developed.

He adds they are working with attorneys on a number of legal issues.

Those protecting civil liberties are intrigued.

"If technology like this worked as it was billed, New York City should see its stop and frisk rate drop by a half million people a year. On the other hand, the ability to walk down the street free from a virtual police pat down is a matter of privacy," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

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