It must be nerve-racking for any cop when they approach a suspect who has their hands in their pockets, not knowing if the encounter will be a routine one without incident or a hair-raising one that descends into a life-threatening shoot-out. If only the cop could somehow know in advance if the person they’re approaching is armed. Well, soon they should be able to.
A device being developed by the NYPD uses infrared rays to scan a suspect’s body to determine if they’re carrying a weapon. The implementation of the device would mean cops could do away with having to frisk a suspect, a risky action in itself due to the close proximity of the suspect.
NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly explained that the infrared rays scan a “form of radiation emitted from the body.” Because the infrared rays cannot penetrate metal, the cops would be able to see a digital outline of a weapon such as a gun or a knife, making it possible to pinpoint its precise location.
The scanner would be mounted on a police van and currently works at a range of about four feet, though engineers are hoping to extend that to around 80 feet.
The technology, the result of a collaboration between the NYPD and the US Department of Defense, has been in development for the last three years. There’s no official word on when it might be trialed, but it certainly sounds like a neat bit of tech that should serve to give cops the upper hand when it comes to approaching a suspect.