Metro rolls out new security scanners to detect weapons, prevent ‘mass casulties’

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As Metro expands its network of high-capacity trains, the transit agency is investing in new technology to prevent attacks on riders.

On Tuesday, Metro announced that it had purchased devices designed to detect concealed explosives and weapons “intended to cause mass casualties.”

Metro spokesperson Dave Sotero tells Curbed that the devices are portable and will be moved from station-to-station depending on security needs. He says the devices will be “unobtrusive,” and won’t interfere with passengers’ commutes.

No large-scale attacks have been carried out on Metro vehicles or in stations, but the agency has recently placed a greater emphasis on security, asking the Los Angeles and Long Beach police departments to join the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Metro’s in-house security team in patrolling trains and buses.

“This new technology will augment our already aggressive safety and security measures and help us proactively deter potential attacks to our system,” said Metro Board Chair Sheila Kuehl.

In 2016 and 2017, bomb scares forced temporary station closures in Universal City and Hollywood. In both cases, law enforcement did not find explosives at the scene.

In an announcement, Metro said the new screening tools have been “tested extensively” by the federal Transportation Security Administration, and will allow law enforcement agents to screen passengers “without disrupting foot traffic.”


A demonstration of the security device’s scanning capability.
Courtesy Metro

The devices do not emit radiation and won’t display “anatomical details” when passengers are screened, according to Metro.

So far, the agency has spent just over $400,000 on the security tools, which cost around $100,000 each.

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