Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just radiating suspicious energy? The New York City Police Department is working with the Defense Department to develop an infrared scanner that can detect concealed weapons, Commissioner Ray Kelly announced yesterday. The device reads the energy people emit and detects where it is blocked by objects. The model being tested works from some 13 feet away, but police are hoping to increase the distance to 80 feet, and install the device in vehicles in the near future.
Up until now, cops looking for concealed weapons have had to rely on their powers of observation, as described by former deputy police commissioner Jack Maple in his book Putting the Bad Guys Out of Business, the New York Times notes. "I’d stand in front of a full-length mirror and study the way a gun looked under a jacket, over the shoulder, inside the waistband—anywhere on the body it could be hidden," he wrote. "On the job, I’d stop two or three people a day who were carrying concealed weapons."