The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) recently participated in a demonstration of the New York Police Department’s FIDO X-3 Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) system.
The demonstration was part of an event, funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which focused on the challenges law enforcement faces screening for explosives and dangerous substances. Background substances, environmental pollutants, and high volume and fast throughput screening at public venues all can impede the detection capabilities of explosives trace detectors.
The ETD demonstration showed how swabs used to collect particles are run through the system to check for hazardous materials. Improvements made to the system increase how quickly swabs can be scanned.
The NYPD has been sent 100 modified swabs for assessment and feedback. These will be used at security checkpoints.
“A simple solution greatly increased the effectiveness of this important tool,” S&T Program Manager Laura Parker said. “These improvements enhanced the detection capabilities of the FIDO X-3 even more than we had hoped.”
The institute also has been developing curricula and training for transportation security officers on how to evaluate explosives trace sampling.
The institute provided the NYPD with benchmarks for FIDO X-3 performance as well as tools and best practices.