Focus on Detection


Effective deployment of Full Body Scanners

by Scott Ortolani

Body scanners utilizing transmission X-ray technology have been deployed in U.S. correctional facilities for nearly a decade now, thus providing corrections professionals with more effective means to conduct internal and external searches for contraband.

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Selecting a Solution

   Considering the speed at which X-ray technology is progressing it is valuable to select a platform that can meet and expand with your security needs. Much like X-ray baggage scanners have evolved into dual view, multi-view, and now CT based imaging, transmission-based X-ray Body Scanners also leverage the benefits of providing operators with more than one perspective and view. Inmates will “test” the performance of your body scanner, so it is up to you, the corrections professional, to select a company that offers hardware and software upgrade options that grow with each new test.

   Reliability and post-deployment support are critical to achieving ongoing results. “Body scanners stop a great deal of contraband entering a facility”, said Sheriff Gerald A. Turlich, Jr. of the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana. “When we decided to make the purchase, it became a force multiplier.”

Choosing features that matter

   Image clarity for X-ray machines is often measured using American Wire Gauge (AWG) ratings however, in the case of full-body scanners, this is not always an accurate depiction of performance. Increased X-ray energy can, and often will, penetrate objects causing an effect where lightly dense objects, such as thin wire, can be missed; more is not always more. Look for a system that displays clean, noise-free images, while producing good penetration of a typical individual. Be sure to test this on subjects < 150LBS to verify lightly dense objects, such as tobacco and marijuana, are not missed. Then apply the same test on individuals > 250LBS to be sure you can sufficiently image the abdomen. Most body scanners should now feature multiple scanning modes, allowing operators to raise or lower the X-ray dose, depending on the individual they are scanning. Choose a system that can adjust dose rates based on body type for optimum image performance.

Automatic detection is continuously evolving for security X-ray machines, including body scanners. It provides reassurance during decision-making and also offers supervisors with reports for accountability of their operators. As automatic detection progresses, it has the potential to transform these scanners into red light/green light systems, much like metal detectors. Position yourself today and benefit from the current automatic detection features that is the platform for tomorrow’s developments. It will increase operator performance and your overall results.

Location and Application

Remember, safety is the top priority. Threats to staff are often the easiest contraband for these scanners to detect, regardless of composition; from printed plastic firearms to ceramic blades, only X-ray technology will image these threats inside the body. Once you select the scanner that will best accomplish your goals, it is critical to place it where it is best used to your advantage. Significant savings have been reported among county jails that elect to place the system in sally ports and screen arrestees prior to entering intake. In this model, the burden of a hospital transport is placed on the arresting officer and represents a cost benefit to the jail budget. Intake is often a crowded area with personnel moving about the scanner. A shielded cabin is often a good solution to eliminate the requirement for a safety zone around the scanner. Dedicated personnel for operation of the system often produces much better results; practice equals performance.

For more information, visit adanisystems.us

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