Metro Tests Airport-Style Body Scanners Aimed at Detecting Guns, Explosives

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Commuters hurrying through Union Station toward their Metro trains Wednesday morning encountered a new obstacle near the entrance to the subway: an airport-style body scanner, designed to detect hidden weapons and explosives.

Passenger Nicholas Sanler walks through a screening system Wednesday on his way to the Metro Red and Purple line subways. Metro is running a two-day test to analyze the scanner, created by Evolv Technology. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

As passengers walked between two tall silver columns, short-wave radio frequencies scanned their bodies and sent the data to a computer system that searched for patterns that suggest a hidden rifle or explosives vest.

The test, which is optional for passengers, will continue through Thursday. The test run is part of a broader Metropolitan Transportation Authority effort to find technology that could deter or detect possible public safety threats.

“While we’ll never become a fully secured environment like you’d have in the airport, we do want to find a way to more effectively screen passengers,” Metro security executive Alex Wiggins said. “We are trying to stay ahead of the threat.”

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