With the U.S. government shut down and President Trump battling the Democrats in Congress to get funding for his wall, the State Department has already started working to secure the border with a new line of high tech scanners to detect contraband hidden on, and inside, people.
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, an agency in the Department of State, recently released a procurement notice to obtain scanners "in order to efficiently and effectively detect contraband hidden on and inside an individual’s body."
The INL Border Security division, who works closely with the Government of Mexico, is looking to install at least 14 scanners along the border in a "busy environment" that have the ability to "quickly capture an image of pedestrians while minimally impeding the flow of traffic."
Officials are looking to install the scanners at 3 major pedestrian crossings, and need the machines to handle at least 100 people per hour.
Of the listed contraband, officials want the scanners to pick up narcotics, currency, weapons, explosives and harmful chemicals/biological agents. They are also hoping the devices can combat against illegal human trafficking.
As an example, the procurement request lists the ThruVision TS4-C people-screening camera that touts the ability to identify any type of item "hidden under peoples’ clothing" at distances of 3 to 4 meters. It can also screen people at a rate of one every 12-seconds, which would satisfy the 100 per hour requirement.
Similar technology has been installed at train stations and airports and has been praised by the TSA for increasing the amount of contraband seized.
The State Dept. is looking for vendors to submit offers to not only secure the scanners but install and train employees how to properly use them and identify contraband coming across the border.
During President Trump's Tuesday night address from the Oval Office on border security, he mentioned the administration's proposal to Congress for "cutting-edge technology for detecting drugs, weapons, illegal contraband, and many other things."
Vendors have until next week to submit their proposals.