Mineta San Jose Testing High-Tech Security Upgrades Along Its Fence Line

TSA making a $4 million investment in lasers, sensors, cameras and other sophisticated measures to improve perimeter security

South Bay congressional leaders this week announced new efforts to add security along the perimeter of Mineta San Jose International Airport to keep intruders out, and much of it requires Silicon Valley technology.

The Transportation Security Administration is investing $4 million in the upgrade, which includes more cameras, infrared sensors, ground sensors, fence sensors and other technology.

The airport has a documented history of fence jumpers, including an unforgettable incident in which a 15-year-old stowaway hopped the fence, ran into the wheel well of an airliner and made it to Hawaii alive.

As a result of the breaches, the airport, which serves about 14 million passengers a year, raised the fence height to above federal standards and enhanced other security measures. And while surveillance video captured most of the jumpers at SJC over the past couple of years, more sophisticated measures were deemed necessary.

"Lasers, sensors, additional similar equipment," airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said, listing some of the new strategies.

The lasers come from a company called Redscan. They detect when a fence jumper is moving on the airport property.

"The TSA will be studying what else can be done here in San Jose to enhance the perimeter fence line and detect and deter any intruder from accessing our airfield," Barnes said.

Miami International is the only other airport experimenting with the new technology. The TSA will take what’s learned at SJC and possibly implement the same strategy at airports nationwide.

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