Tri-Cities airport getting new body scanner

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- It's a part of air travel... the baggage fees, security lines and the goodbyes. KEPR learned you'll be saying hello to a controversial body scanner that will be added here at the Tri-Cities airport. With the coming anniversary of September 11th, KEPR looked into what else has been done to increase your safety while flying.

"Going through security can make the experience a lot worse," says Brandon Wray. This is not Brandon's first trip to the Tri-Cities airport.

He continues, "It sucks that I have these shoes.. they aren't really slip-ons. When I gotta take out my computer... that sucks, too."

He can't believe it's been over a decade since 9/11, when everything changed for someone getting on a plane. Brandon explains, "It's a distant memory... I remember taking large bottles of beer, no one cared back then. Now you can't have anything."

The Tri-Cities airport has spent more than one-million dollars to beef up security since 2001. That includes detectors, additional officers and more random pat-downs. Now the latest change will be an advanced imaging body scanner. It could be here in the few weeks.
The majority of the people flying through the Pasco airport will be required to submit to the scan or submit to an "enhanced pat-down."

Airport administrator, Buck Taft tells KEPR, "It gives the TSA a better view of concealed objects..."

Brandon chimes in, "A lot of people say, Oh it's you naked, but it doesn't look like it, just a silhouette."

Almost 200 airports across the nation use the body scanners. Taft continues, "It's an added level of security that every airport is going to have."

There are also changes you don't see.

"Just the general culture has really changed," says Taft.

The airport recently installed a system that tracks whose badge was swiped at which door, and when. It even shows how long the door was open. Biometric technology makes sure no one gets where they shouldn't be. So of course, reporter, Melanie Tubbs tested it out.

She grabbed Arthur's badge and put it up, used her fingerprint and.. Nothing. But if we have Arthur try it..

Arthur explains, "My badge my fingerprint, it lets me in."

Behind closed doors, or not, Brandon trusts that security is the top priority here.

He says, "Pretty safe. On a scale of 1-10.. 10."

Advanced imaging body scanners have been very successful overall.
They can spot non-metallic firearms, knives and exotic animals. Airport officials also tell KEPR the TSA is working on new technology that would check you over without having you take off your shoes and empty your pockets.