Say Hello to Scan-and-Frisk

January 24, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

Just when we thought it was safe to assume that the NYPD’s decidedly unconstitutional Stop-and-Frisk policy might be on its way out, Commissioner Ray Kelly announced a major development yesterday: New York City, meet Scan-and-Frisk.

A new scanning device– which detects terahertz, a heat energy naturally emitted by humans– is to be deployed by our beloved police force sometime in the near future. The device is small enough to fit in a police car or on a “suspicious” street corner, and can supposedly detect concealed weapons, which would block the natural radiation, from a great distance. Activation of the device will be considered probable cause for an officer to search a suspect more thoroughly.

According to Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the device is already being tested “with encouraging results at the NYPD range Rodman’s Neck in the Bronx,” and more testing is to be implemented soon, at unknown public locations. Browne did not comment on whether or not passersby would be aware that they were being scanned.

While Commissioner Kelly claims that the controversial technology will ultimately make firearm search procedures less invasive, many are worried that it will create yet another legal justification for cops to violate, and discriminate against, the innocent.

Whether the scanner can be activated by other (less lethal) inanimate objects has yet to be known. The extent of the anatomical detail that police using the device will be seeing underneath people’s clothing is also still unclear.

In related news, Judge Shira Scheindlin, who initially ordered the NYPD to “immediately cease” the discriminatory searches of people living in allegedly high-risk apartment buildings, has temporarily lifted her ban. It looks like Stop-and-Frisk is back in action.