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Scanners Tested For Use At Courthouses

From a delighted Associated Press:

Full-body scanners popping up at courthouses

By P. Solomon Banda, Associated Press Tue Nov 23, 2010

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. – Taking a trip during the holidays isn’t the only time that people might get a full-body scan to pass through security. People heading to court to testify, get a restraining order, pay a ticket or answer criminal charges could also face a full-body scan at courthouses.

The U.S. Marshals Service, which is in charge of protecting federal judges nationwide, is exploring their use at federal courthouses. And two state courthouses in Douglas and El Paso counties in Colorado have already deployed full-body scanners that use radio waves to detect all objects on a person, including paper.

In response to what, exactly? Have there been a lot of suicide bombers trying to use weapons that would not be detected by metal detectors attacking federal judges lately – and we just haven’t heard about them?

If not, then why are they doing this? And who is paying for this tremendously expensive equipment?

A guard in a separate room monitors the gray images with pixelated faces and genital areas, and the images aren’t stored on a computer. officials said. All visitors to the Douglas County Courthouse in Castle Rock, Colo., undergo full-body scans, while guards at the El Paso County Judicial Center in Colorado Springs use the scanners during peak hours.

Angela Hellenbrand received a quick pat down Tuesday by security guard Mike Couts at the Castle Rock courthouse about 30 miles south of Denver. A guard in another room monitoring the full-body scans alerted Couts to an object in Hellenbrand’s left rear pocket. It was the paper backing of a "Junior Deputy Sheriff" sticker that one of the guards had given her two young boys.

"It’s OK," Hellenbrand said. "It’s how they do security here. It’s my second time through."

Something tells us that this is precisely the response they are aiming for.

Court observers note that the threat in a courtroom is somewhat different.

"What we are still worried about at a courthouse is angry divorce litigants with a gun," said Sam Kamin, a law professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. "Metal detectors are pretty good at that."

Still, court officials note that evolving technology in materials, including plastic guns and knives, aren’t detected by the 1970s technology of metal detectors.

Really? Exactly how many attacks have there been so far involving plastic guns and knives? And are their plastic bullets?

"Although we have no current plans for deployment, the U.S. Marshals Service believes in the technology," said Washington-based Michael Prout, assistant director for judicial security for the U.S. marshals. "We will continue to explore the use of body scanners as a security measure for the federal judiciary."

In a statement, the marshals said they didn’t receive any complaints from people passing through the scanners during the tests.

If the US Marshals Service isn’t planning to deploy them, why are they testing them? It sounds to us like they are planning to deploy them.

The images of the full-body scans were saved on a computer hard drive, but weren’t accessible without an administrative password and weren’t reviewed by the marshals, according to the agency.

However, privacy became an issue when it was learned the images were stored. The Marshals Service received a request for the information under the Freedom of Information Act, but it wasn’t immediately known who made the request.

In other words, these images will be just as ‘private’ as the TSA stored images that were recently leaked by Gizmodo. Which is to say, not ‘private’ at all.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, November 24th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Scanners Tested For Use At Courthouses”

  1. Chase

    I am a Colorado Springs resident, and while I have had no business at the Judicial Center, I had not otherwise noted reporting of this “purchase” as being made by the city.

    All I can find in a cursory look on-line is that the machines were developed by L3Com, and have been in use since or were acquired in 2007.

    “At $140,000 the price tag is considered fairly steep, and El Paso County has traded two security personnel for the additional capabilities the device provides. The additional speed and accuracy may make that a cost-effective tradeoff, they believe.”

    I find it interesting that one of the more conservative cities in the country, fast-growing and in reported financial straits (Ok, Mayor Lionel Rivera is no conservative!) has somehow had these expensive items slipped into use, and too wonder about the funding.

  2. proreason

    Once Americans are conditioned to handing over their private parts to total strangers, the next step will be the demand the handover over their guns…..for public safety of course……at a penalty of an 11,000 dollar fine, minimum.

    • Liberals Demise

      They will be welcome to my weapons once all the ammo is spent. We can negotiate the fine at a time there after. (for public safety of course)

  3. heykev

    Ron Paul introduces legislation called The American Traveler Dignity Act. “Groping people at the airport doesn’t solve our problem,” says Congressman Ron Paul. The Texas Republican last week introduced a bill forbidding airport security agents from actions that would be illegal if undertaken by a private citizen.

    He said “If you can’t grope another person, if you can’t X-ray people and endanger them… if you cant take nude photos of individuals, why do we allow the government to do it?”

    http://tinyurl.com/2dcvcdg

  4. Mae

    Probably the only ones not checked via scanners will be the criminals themselves. Can’t profile, ya know. Do we get to use radiation as an excuse not to serve on juries?

  5. JohnMG

    …..”If the US Marshals Service isn’t planning to deploy them, why are they testing them? It sounds to us like they are planning to deploy them. …..”

    It sounds to me like they already have. And notice how we’re back to the plastic gun nonsense that was thoroughly de-bunked years ago.

    These clueless idiots wonder why some people yield to the urge to hose these places down. I’m more concerned with the criminals elected to public office than the ones who end up before them for the administration of “justice”.

  6. DenisDrew

    “Angela Hellenbrand received a quick pat down Tuesday by security guard Mike Couts ,,,”

    Does anyone notice that — female — Angela seems by this story to have been patted down closely enough to find the paper backing of a sticker in her pocket by — male — Mike?

    “A guard [presumably of the same sex — though the story does not mention two guards; can they afford two; do they have two scanners?] in a separate room monitors the gray images with pixelated faces and genital areas …” — but a guard of the opposite sex may do the frisking?


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