Airport Getting State-of-Art Baggage Screening

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    ARLINGTON, VA - MARCH 27: Transportation Security officers (L-R) Lloyd Lewis, and Paul Smith demonstrate Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Systems Integration Facility, a new explosives screening system which DHS planned to deploy to airports around the country, during a press event by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as she unveiled the DHS Efficiency Review Initiative March 27, 2009 at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia. Napolitano rolled out her plans on cutting unnecessary spending within her department hoping to save hundreds of millions of dollars. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    A $28 million explosive-screening system is going in at Lindbergh Field.

    The inline baggage system will be installed at the San Diego International Airport by 2013, officials said Wednesday. The system, which is basically a large conveyer belt located in the lobby to process all incoming checked baggage, is designed to strengthen security at airports, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    Instead of dropping off a bag and handing it to a ticket agent, who lifts it onto a shelf and then lefts it again onto a conveyer belt, where it's sent to another employee for screening, the new system streamlines the process so that a Transportation Security Administration employee only has to touch the checked baggage once before it is screened for explosives, a TSA representative said.

    "Ultimately this is great equipment for larger airports, because it's the latest technology and it's the most efficient," said Suzanne Trevino, the regional TSA spokeswoman.

    Construction of the inline baggage screening systems will also create an as-yet-to-be-determined number of jobs, according to the Deparment of Homeland Security.

    "These state-of-the-art technologies will strengthen security for travelers by enhancing our capability to detect and distrupt threats of terrorism," said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in a news release.

    No specific start date has been set for construction of the system, which will be located in the new Terminal 2 West. 

    The money paying for the system is a portion of the $78 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for airport security technology projects across the country. In addition to San Diego, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport will receive $26.6 million for two screening systems, and $11.5 million will go to the construction of a similar system at the Little Rock National Airport.

    The systems provide higher resolution capabilities for security officers screening baggage, reducing the number of re-scans and physical bag searches.

    The DHS also awarded approximately $6.9 million in ARRA funds to assist with the installation of more than 250 reduced-size Explosives Detection Systems (RSEDS) -- the technology used to detect explosives in checked baggage at more than 60 airports nationwide.

    ARRA was signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009, committing more than $3 billion to homeland security projects -- $1 billion of which was allocated to TSA for aviation security projects.