TSA: Body scanner adds ‘additional layer of security’ at airport

ST. GEORGE – With an increasing amount of passengers flying out of St. George in recent years, the St. George Regional Airport became a candidate to receive a new piece of screening equipment from the Transportation Security Administration – a full-body scanner.

The TSA installed a body scanner at the St. George Regional Airport that TSA officials say will provide an extra layer of security at the facility, St. George, Utah, July 6, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“We’re really happy to have the body scanner here and installed at St. George,” TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said Thursday.

Passengers from St. George are feeding into the aviation system across the country and beyond, Dankers said, and the body scanner provides “an additional layer of security.”

“It’s designed to detect metallic and non-metallic items that may be concealed under a passenger’s clothing,” Dankers said. “This is important because we know explosives remain the greatest threat against aviation, and explosives can be made out of a non-metallic substance.”

Officially known as Advanced Imaging Technology, the body scanner is the primary screening method utilized by the TSA.

Once an individual steps into the booth and is scanned, a generic outline of a human body appears on a screen in front of waiting TSA agents. If there is nothing found, a “CLEAR” pops onto the screen. If something is found, a yellow box appears in the general location where a suspect item was detected.

TSA agents do a localized pat-down of the area rather than a full-body pat-down in these cases, Dankers said.

Travelers with metallic-implants, such as replacement hips and knees, will love the body scanner, Dankers said, because their implants won’t set it off as they would a metal detector.

The new body scanner at the St. George Regional Airport depicts generic outlines of the people it scans and depicts anomalies detected on the body as yellow boxes, St. George, Utah, July 6, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The decision to install a body scanner at the St. George Regional Airport was made in part due to the increasing number of travelers flying out of it. Over the last three years there has been a 21 percent increase in departing fliers, according to the TSA.

In 2014, TSA agents at the St. George Regional Airport checkpoint screened approximately 77,000 passengers. By 2016 they had screened more than 96,000 passengers.

Other factors involved in picking where a body scanner will be put include issues related to the destinations of outgoing flights and potential risks, among a variety of other qualifiers.

“This airport fit those categories,” Dankers said.

Body scanners have been used in other airports for four years or more, with 140 more planned to be installed in other airports across the country. The cost of installation runs around $104,000 per unit.

The system works by scanning an individual with what is called “milometer wave technology” that uses electromagnetic waves to scan someone. According to the TSA, the energy emitted from the scan is 1,000 times less than international limits and guidelines and is well within national and international health and safety standards.

The body scanner at the St. George Regional Airport was put into use last Friday.

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Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • Neil July 6, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Right, because there are so many terrorists in Washington County. A colossal waste of taxpayer money and another small step towards tyranny.

  • wildduck1 July 7, 2017 at 5:58 am

    Neil, don’t be naive. A terrorist can be anywhere. I am curious as to why you considered protecting human life a step toward tyranny?

  • Craig July 7, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Claim or reality? The nation most expert at spotting those with ill intent is Israel. What did it learn? Profiling is the key.

    Profiling is not discriminatory. It would be foolish to miss the white pregnant lady ticketed to Israel but actually a terrorist. If I remember correctly, she was identified in a British airport.

    Too many people have made profiling synonymous with racial profiling. It is not.

    If we are going to spend staggerings sums of money, let’s at least do it competently.

  • darkgoddess July 7, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Remember folks, not all terrorists are from the Middle East. The majority of terror attacks on US soil have be performed by good ol’ American White Boys. Remember Timothy McVeigh, Dylan Roof, the Unabomber, etc.

  • ladybugavenger July 7, 2017 at 11:24 am

    I’m all for profiling! I profile people all day. Customers walk in I say to myself, there’s a tweeker, wonder if that one is on heroin or meth, or both? That one is high right now, there’s a thief, oh I can’t stand that customer, he’s a douchbag that wants everything half off……y’all should get some judgement 🙂

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