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PATH security tests slated

(The following article by Bonnie Friedman was posted on the Jersey Journal website on July 6.)

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- The federal Department of Homeland Security will launch a second round of rail security testing at the Exchange Place PATH station next week, officials said.

Starting next Thursday, screeners will again use explosive-detecting equipment to monitor commuters at the.

But unlike the previous round of testing, which used airport-style X-ray machines, the new test involves "imaging technology" that can scan passengers and their bags from a distance for explosives.

Christopher Kelly, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said seven different devices will be used for primary screening and one device will be used for secondary screening. He said the test will run through July 27.

"People will be imaged from a distance and also through a portal," said Kelly, adding that technologies used to detect explosive devices include millimeter wave and infrared technology.

If an alert goes off, passengers will be required to go through a subsequent screening, which uses radar technology to pinpoint the locations of foreign objects between clothing and skin.

Results of the $10 million two-phase test project will be reported to Congress in the fall of 2006, Kelly said.

"This is part of the Department of Homeland Security's broader effort to protect citizens and critical infrastructure from possible terrorist attacks," Kelly said. "This is designed to evaluate equipment performance and screeners actions to ensure it's appropriate for actual station operations."

Passengers are not expected to experience serious delays.

Roughly 15,000 riders use the Exchange Place station on weekdays.

Friday, July 7, 2006

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