The full body scanners familiar to travelers at larger airport security checkpoints have finally arrived in Cedar Rapids.
As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) turned on its Advanced Imaging Technology unit at The Eastern Iowa Airport. That means fliers who are used to walking through a simple X-ray portal will now, most likely, use the newer device for primary screening.
Jay Brainard, TSA security director for Iowa, said the AIT device now installed and operating in Cedar Rapids follows similar devices set up at the Des Moines International Airport in January. Cedar Rapids and Des Moines are the only airports in Iowa with full body scanners as part of the routine passenger screening process. Approximately 400 AIT scanners are now in use at 125 airports around the country.
Brainard said the original full body scanners used a different technology, called back scatter, that displayed an individual outline of every person’s body. That prompted some complaints about individual privacy in using the devices.
The newer scanners now being installed at airports use electromagnetic waves and display only a static outline of a body. The device will signal an alert if it detects metal or some other object in a specific location. Passengers enter the full body scanners and the scanning portion of the device makes a 360-degree circle around each individual. The process takes about three seconds.
Brainard said those passengers who object to full body scanning can option for other security procedures. However, those procedures will include a pat-down search by TSA personnel.