Nov. 1, 2004

T.F. Green Airport testing explosive trace- detection technology for pilot program

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) introduced air travelers at T.F. Green State Airport in ­Warwick, R.I., to an Explosive Trace Detection Portal at the passenger security checkpoint, representing the first time TSA has deployed this explosive trace detection (ETD) technology in an airport environment. The Explosive Trace Detection Portal is designed to analyze air for traces of explosive material. During a 45-day period, after proceeding through the Walk-Through Metal Detector as usual, some travelers at T.F. Green will then be asked to step into the trace portal and remain still for a few seconds while several quick puffs of air are released. A computerized voice will tell travelers when to exit the portal. This pilot program will yield important data on the efficacy of this equipment in an active airport environment with varying climates, and how it impacts customer service and wait times, TSA officials say. T.F. Green State Airport will be the first of four airports to participate in the pilot program and serve as a test site for this emerging technology. The equipment will soon be introduced to travelers at San Diego International Airport, Tampa International Airport, and Greater Rochester International Airport in N.Y. GE IonTrack is providing TSA with four trace portal machines - one for each airport - for a 45-day testing period.

DHS UAVs operating in Arizona support border security

Earlier this summer Officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the first sustained civilian use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to curb ­illegal activities along Arizona’s southern border. Two Hermes 450 UAVs will be used as part of the Arizona Border Control (ABC) Initiative to assist with border surveillance activities and augment manned aircraft, helicopters, and ground sensors already in place. The UAV flights will be controlled and monitored by U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol and are scheduled throughout the summer. The UAVs are equipped with electro-optic sensors and communications payloads, which provide around-the-clock images to CBP Border Patrol agents. These aerial vehicles permit greater border coverage and faster response times in the rugged, desolate areas of the Southwest border. Hundreds of law enforcement officers from local, state, tribal, and federal agencies in Arizona, including personnel from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), CBP, U.S. Border Patrol, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), are working in close cooperation with the Department of Interior and Department of ­Defense to ensure this technology’s success under the ABC Initiative, DHS officials say.

DHS launches Office of Inter­operability and Compatibility

Last month officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched the Office of Interoperability and Compatibility, along with the release of tools designed to help state and local public safety practitioners improve communications interoperability. The Office of Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC), part of the Science & Technology directorate, will oversee the wide range of public safety interoperability programs and efforts currently spread across DHS. These programs address critical interoperability issues relating to public safety and emergency ­response, including communications, equipment, training, and other areas as needs are identified. “This is a national effort, not a federal effort, and I thank the first-responder community for their initiative and collaboration,” says DHS Secretary Tom Ridge. DHS is also distributing communications interoperability improvement tools - an “Interoperability Continuum” guide, and Statewide Communications Interoperability Planning methodology - to leaders in all 50 states and 50 high-threat urban areas. The Continuum provides guidance for increasing frequency of use of equipment, ­creating a joint governance structure, developing standard operating procedures, integrating technology solutions with existing systems, and conducting training and exercises. For more information go online at

L-3 Communications to provide x-ray security screening for NYPD

L-3 Communications in New York City recently announced that its Security and Detection Systems will provide the New York Police Department (NYPD) Division of School Safety more than 50 additional PX-M x-ray security screening systems for use in New York City Schools. The contract provides delivery and installation of the PX-M systems, which also ­includes dual-energy image-enhancement features for ­advanced material discrimination, and optional features such as Operator Assist (OA), Image Archiving (IA), and Threat ­Image Projection (TIP). Each of these enhancements helps operators to locate threats and catalogue images for future use in operator performance testing. Nearly 90 PX-M screening systems are deployed in about 75 New York City schools for screening of small baggage and parcels at school entrances during peak hours of operation. For more information go online at

National security labs select Kontek Industries to provide security

Officials at Kontek Industries in New Madrid, Mo., recently announced that two national security facilities, Lawrence Liver­­more National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., and Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., have selected Kontek to install critical infrastructure protection solutions. Kontek manufactures vehicle and delay access barriers, blast-resistant barriers, L-8 and NIJ-4 guard house shelters, and telecommunication shelters. To date Kontek has provided modular blast barriers to the U.S. Air Force and has also provided vehicle and delay access barriers to 12 nuclear facilities throughout the United States, company officials say.

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