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Published February 03, 2012, 04:01 PM

New Technology Helps Beef Up Security at Grand Forks Airport

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - New technology will help beef up security at Grand Forks International Airport.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - New technology will help beef up security at Grand Forks International Airport.

The airport is the first in North Dakota to have full body scanners, otherwise known as Advanced Imaging Technology.

The full body scanner is less intrusive than others which have been criticized for being too revealing.

The scanner will help with security and passengers may be surprised by the convenience and privacy it gives when traveling.

It takes just a couple steps arms up and your done. Full body scanners are cutting down wait time and beefing up security.

"It's especially beneficial to say people who have artificial knees and hips where before they'd have to have a standard pat down head to toe. Now they can go through the machine and it's a very easy process," TSA Supervisor Darrel Shereck.

The scanner was installed a couple weeks ago. Each unit costs around 170-thousand dollars and has Automated Target Recognition which produces a generic image that's identical for every passenger.

It helps security pinpoint locations on a person's body where a questionable item may be.

"It helps us detect both the metallic and non-metallic images, it helps us detect explosives, non-explosive threats, current known threats all without having to have a lot of physical contact with people and in fact in most cases no physical contact," TSA Federal Security Director John Hursey said.

The new scanner is more convenient for both TSA and passengers.

"The feedback we're hearing from the customers is this is not an evasive process and has really been a positive atmosphere for the customers," GFK Executive Director Patrick Dame said.

There are nearly 570 scanners at more than 130 airports around the U-S. Both TSA and Airport officials are happy to bring this new technology to North Dakota.

"It provides us with a great balance of security, which is our main concern, but also allows us to address customer convenience and passenger efficiency," Hursey said.

The scanners were installed recently at Hector International Airport in Fargo and are fully operational there as of today.

Use of the new scanners is optional, but if passengers choose not to be screened they will receive a pat down.