Less invasive scanners up and running at airport - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Less invasive scanners up and running at airport

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB)- Just in time for the holiday travel rush, there are new safety measures at the Chattanooga Airport. A new full-body scanner is up and running.

Chattanooga is joining the ranks of larger airports implementing the new, second-generation full-body scanner.

"We know that the threat evolves in what we're looking at. So we basically can close gaps with this new technology to counter any threats to the aviation system," says Steve Wood, Federal Security Director for TSA in East Tennessee.

He says the new scanner is not as revealing when it comes to privacy, only showing a general outline of your body.

Using millimeter wave detection, the scanner is more sensitive, though, to objects that should not be on the body.  

"The great thing from a security perspective is that, it's metallic and non-metallic," he says, meaning it could even pick up an object like a pill in someone's pocket.

A TSA officer demonstrated how a cell phone in his pocket is highlighted on the screen, alerting security to a potential threat.

"I don't really mind going through it. It's not that big a deal," says passenger Kathleen Stayton, from Pennsylvania.

For her, the new scanners are a step in the right direction.

"I think we're under such a threat. It's a real threat. And so I think unfortunately we have to do that," says Stayton.

Others say they are willing to do what it takes to keep everyone safe.

"It doesn't bother me," says Lois McFarland. "Not at my age. Nothing to hide!"

And neither does the TSA, saying they have done away with remote viewing rooms. You see everything the TSA officer sees.

"I think that's the key way to build trust with our passengers is that we're looking out for their interest, trying to make it the best experience as we can and at the same time adhering to security principles that we should have in place," says Wood.

There are 500 of the new body-scanners at airports across the country. Knoxville got one last month and Nashville two months ago. 

Airport officials say by adding the scanner and a second security lane, passengers can get to their gates faster.

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