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Responder News: NUSTL Provides Radiation Detection Equipment to the Amtrak Police Department for Pope Francis Visit

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Responder News: NUSTL Provides Radiation Detection Equipment to the Amtrak Police Department for Pope Francis Visit

Release Date: 
October 26, 2015

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL) is strategically located in New York City and performs functional testing, evaluation and operational assessments on first responder technologies. During the recent visit of Pope Francis, the Performance Test and Evaluation at NUSTL (PTEN) team tested and provided radiation detection equipment for New York City’s radiological and nuclear detection security efforts.

At the request of the Amtrak Police Department, NUSTL provided two Backpack Detectors and 15 Personal Radiation Detectors (PRDs) worn by law enforcement officers to screen for the presence of radiation material in pedestrian and vehicle traffic. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Radiological Assistance Program at Argonne National Laboratory provided the Backpack Detectors.

The Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson designated the Pope’s visit as a National Special Security Event, which called for increased cooperation among local, state and federal partners to establish a safe and secure environment.

The Amtrak Police Department is one of many first responder organizations to use PRDs and other radiation detection equipment tested by NUSTL. Since 2009, PTEN has tested and evaluated nearly 13,000 units. This ensures peak operational performance and mission suitability, which is essential for first responders to monitor and safeguard large crowds at high profile events.

NUSTL regularly conducts testing on first responder technologies, both in the lab and in the field. NUSTL’s team of experts also provides technical guidance on radiological detection devices and supports training exercises designed for first responders. To learn more about NUSTL, please contact nustl@hq.dhs.gov.

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