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Helena airport adds full-body scanner to security checkpoint

Helena Airport Adds Full-body Scanner To Security Checkpoint

(HELENA) Leaders at Helena Regional Airport hope security lines will move more smoothly now that a new full-body scanner has been installed.

The new ProVision 2 scanner has been operating since the end of last week. It uses radio waves to detect any suspicious objects a person is carrying. Airport leaders believe it will improve security and efficiency at the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint. Airport Director Jeff Wadekamper says the scanner will speed up TSA lines because fewer people will have to get patdown searches. One group that could get through the lines much more easily is people with prosthetics.

Before, with just the walk-in metal detector, those people went through and automatically had to get the full-body patdown, Wadekamper said. That doesn t happen as much with the full-body scanner, so that s a great benefit.

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Helena previously had a full-body scanner briefly in 2013. It was taken away to be used in a larger airport, after production delays meant fewer scanners than expected were available nationwide. Wadekamper credited Montana s congressional delegation particularly Sen. Jon Tester, who sits on the Senate subcommittee dealing with the Department of Homeland Security s budget with bringing new scanners to the airports in Helena and Great Falls.

It s going to be great, especially in time for the summer travel season, when traffic tends to pick up, said Wadekamper. I think it will make our process a little bit more efficient and more user-friendly, so we re excited that it s in place.

Wadekamper says this scanner s image shows only a generic human figure, and it does not store that information. An earlier model of the ProVision scanner raised privacy concerns because it created detailed, explicit images of the body.

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