ACY gets major security upgrade
|The new explosives detection system (EDS) looks very much like an MRI machine -- because it's based on the same technology.|
|Trooper Paul Whittaker and his canine colleague,"Ike" affectionately renamed “Ace”.|
Security is getting a major upgrade at Atlantic City International Airport. Tuesday it became the second airport in the nation to install the Transportation Security Administration's state-of-the-art Explosive Detection System devices (EDS), called CT80.
TSA staffers demonstrated the CT80 to a gathering of officials, and another newcomer to the South Jersey Transportation Authority's security team was put through its paces -- State Police dog handler, Trooper Paul Whittaker, and his canine colleague, “Ace” will partner with the Egg Harbor Township Police canine team to provide another layer of security at ACY.
Attending was Rep. Frank LoBiondo, inside ACY's terminal. Meanwhile, construction of a baggage screening and staging structure is under way on the apron behind the terminal to provide a future home for a larger, faster version of EDS technology. “This is a valuable investment in traveler security,” LoBiondo said. “I am glad to see that this latest technology is getting an early start here.”
“I want to thank Congressman LoBiondo for his continued commitment to advancing our Airport, for without his steady support, our expansion program would not have achieved as much as it has,” said SJTA Chairman Frank Spencer. The Authority owns and operates ACY, as well as the Atlantic City Expressway and parking facilities in Atlantic City and at the Airport.
The system, developed by Reveal Imaging Technologies of Bedford, Mass., was tested and evaluated at the Transportation Security Laboratory at the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center at ACY. The Transportation Security Laboratory is now part of the Science and Technology Directorate within the Department of Homeland Security.
The new system was field-tested at Newark and JFK airports, as well as at Gulfport, Miss., and is being installed at selected airports nationwide. Reveal will work with TSA so that data gathered in the initial deployments can be used to make appropriate adjustments to its system.
EDS detects potential explosive devices in the same fashion as a medical CAT scan. It forms a three-dimensional image trained TSA operators can recognize. EDS replaces the explosive trace detectors (ETD), which detect the chemical components of explosive material. The new system, which can screen 80 bags an hour, is faster than ETD and is smaller and less expensive than the larger model EDS units.
Work is under way to build a new baggage screening and staging structure, and when it is completed in 2007, an upgraded version of the CT80's will be installed there. That will reclaim the terminal lobby, freeing up space for passenger convenience.
“Ace” – officially “Ike” but affectionately renamed for his assignment with SJTA -- has been cross-trained in patrol work and explosives detection, and with Trooper Whittaker is assigned to the Atlantic City Expressway station based at the Farley Service Plaza. Their assignment goes beyond bolstering security at the airport and includes all SJTA facilities in Atlantic City and along the Expressway.
Return to Listing