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Port Authority, TSA test new security scanner

MANHATTAN — A new tool is scanning the crowds at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street in Manhattan.

The "standoff explosive detection unit" is a camera mounted on a tripod. It's connected to a computer and it scans people walking by. It triggers an alarm if someone is carrying or wearing some kind of large device. The Transportation Security Administration is partnering with the Port Authority to test the technology.

It can detect potential metallic or non-metallic threats, such as a suicide vest. It is not an X-Ray. A news release from the TSA says the device "identifies objects that block the naturally-occurring emissions emitted by a person's body."

The test runs for the rest of this week. Officials will review the data when the testing period is complete.

On Dec. 11, 2017, a man detonated a pipe bomb in a walkway that connects the Times Square subway station with the Port Authority Bus Terminal complex. He was seriously injured in the explosion.

In May at the World Trade Center PATH Train, the Port Authority tested walk-through scanners that can detect explosives and bombs.

TSA reports that is also working with other passenger rail and transit agencies, including Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority.

"Since 9/11, the Port has spent over $1.5 billion dollars on physical security and security technology to strengthen our facilities," Port Authority Chief Security OfficerJohn Bilich said. "If it's something ultimately that will help us be much more secure, we will figure out how to pay for it."