Mayor Michael Bloomberg is defending the NYPD's testing of a high tech device capable of detecting concealed guns at a distance.
Speaking Wednesday morning at the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science in the Bronx, the mayor compared the scanners to the metal detectors that people have to walk through every day to get into buildings or board airplanes.
“That's something we just have to live with,” Bloomberg said. “The alternative is intolerable. You cannot let people walk in and potentially carry weapons or bombs into buildings or on an airplane, and we've got to get guns off the streets.”
On Tuesday, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the NYPD is working with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop the device that reads a form of natural energy akin to radiation. If something is obstructing the flow of that energy, like a weapon, the device will highlight the object on a person's body.
Civil liberties advocates counter the technology would subject anyone on the street to a virtual pat-down.
So far the technology utilizing terra-hertz imaging can detect weapons from about 13 feet away. Police want to put the device in a vehicle and scan an area for weapons as far as 80 feet away.