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Magic Valley Airport Enhances Security with New Full-body Scanner

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – If you’re traveling by way of Magic Valley Regional Airport, be prepared to walk through a new security machine.

An enhanced full-body scanner – Advanced Imaging Technology – has been installed and is now being used at the airport. About 155 airports now have the new scanners.

“This is really exciting for our airports,” said Lorie Dankers, spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration. “It’s another layer of security.”

The machine is a complete body scanner used to detect metallic and non-metallic items, including weapons, explosives and other objects that can be concealed by layers of clothing.

TSA officers demonstrated the machine on Friday morning, as airport staff role played passengers going through the checkpoint. The procedure shouldn’t seem too new to airport travelers.

After placing belts, shoes and other objects into a bin, each passenger steps into the full-body scanner and raises his or her arms. The scan takes only two to three seconds. TSA officers monitor a screen that lets them know if the passenger is cleared to proceed or if objects are detected on the person, in which case a follow-up screening will be conducted.

Dankers said the new technology enhances both passenger privacy and object detection. The machines are equipped with automated target recognition software, creating a generic, computer generated outline that is identical for all passengers. If the body scanner detects a concealed item on a traveler, a yellow box appears on the generic outline. This box identifies where the TSA officer needs to conduct any follow-up screening.

She said the scanners, which cost about $105,000 each and so far have been installed at about 155 other airports, are passenger-friendly for those who have artificial hips, knees or other implants. It won’t invade people’s privacy, but will let officers know if an anomalous object is detected on an individual passenger.

“It does not pick up implants because they are internal to the body,” she said.

That’s good news, said Airport Manager Bill Carberry – passengers don’t have to worry about revealing their medical implants.

Dankers said the new technology is not a metal detector, but it is very good at detecting metal as well as items that are not metal. It is equipped with millimeter wave technology that uses harmless electromagnetic waves, and it meets all known national and international health and safety standards.

Officers received training for the new machine both in a classroom setting and on-site.

If you plan to travel using the airport, several things will help your experience go smooth. Remove all items from your pockets – that includes keys, passports, currency bills, wallets, etc. – stand still and follow the instruction of the TSA officers, she said.

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