The annual New York City Marathon went off pretty much without a hitch this past November 3 (2019). Along the entire 26+ mile route and the surrounding general vicinity, police could be seen standing at the ready just in case something happened. Among the equipment at the NYPD’s disposal was a variety of radiation detection equipment capable of identifying different sources of radiation.
You might think it odd that local law enforcement would have radiation detection equipment in its inventory. But events like the New York marathon illustrate just why such equipment is now necessary. Unfortunately, we live in the era of domestic and foreign terrorism. Cities like New York can no longer take chances during public events that attract large numbers of people.
By the way, New York is not the only city to own and utilize radar detection equipment. Just about every major city in the U.S. has similar assets. Even mid-sized cities with budgets capable of supporting extra expenditures avail themselves of radar detection assets from time to time. It is just the reality of the world we live in.
Detecting Different Kinds of Threats
Rock West Solutions is a California company that develops radiation detection systems for law enforcement and military applications. They say that their efforts in this particular area are not as straightforward as they used to be. There are lots of different kinds of threats, including the following:
Beta Radiation – Beta radiation exists as high-energy, high-speed electrons or positron emissions with medium penetrating power. In a controlled environment it can actually be useful. But uncontrolled beta radiation can also be dangerous.
Neutron Radiation – Neutron radiation is a form of radiation that utilizes free neutrons. It is the form of radiation that makes nuclear reactions possible. It obviously poses a serious threat in the wrong hands.
Particle Radiation – In a particle radiation scenario, fast-moving subatomic particles are emitted in a single, concentrated direction. Particles can be both ionizing and non-ionizing depending on source.
These three forms of radiation barely scratch the surface of the types of threats now possible. Companies like Rock West have their work cut out for them in developing better systems for detecting radiation before it becomes a serious problem. Local law enforcement is depending on their systems more now than ever before.
Public Events Are Prime Targets
From a law enforcement perspective, large-scale public events are a nightmare more than anything else. Law enforcement certainly wants people to enjoy themselves at such events. Yet at the same time, they understand that most people have no idea just how much of a target such events are.
The point of any terrorist event is to simultaneously maximize the damage and strike terror in the hearts of survivors. The best way to do that is to take action against a heavily populated public event in such a way as to create total devastation. That is why terrorists rely on things like car bombs and high-powered rifles.
Law enforcement has to constantly stay one step ahead of those who might commit acts of terrorism. As such, they invest heavily in all sorts of high-tech equipment. They also invest in tactical training, investigation, and key strategies to prevent acts of terrorism before they occur.
Thankfully, most of the large-scale public events held in this country end up being safe and successful. We owe that in part to law enforcement that stands ready to protect us. We also owe it to those contractors who work hard to develop radiation detection equipment, signal processing equipment, and more.