Advancing Technology – Pat Downs at Checkpoints?

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TSABy John Gobbels – VP/COO, MedjetAssist

You may have read about the TSA implementing enhanced pat downs as part of their layered approach to security.

Using the latest intelligence, TSA constantly updates their screening procedures to stay ahead of those looking to do us harm when we fly. When developing their security procedures, they use input from across the agency, including Offices of Intelligence, Privacy and Civil Rights and Liberties.

To add some perspective, the TSA has used pat downs since the agency started federalizing checkpoints in 2002. This type of search is an effective way of helping keep dangerous items such as weapons or improvised explosive devices off of planes.

So, what might cause you to receive a pat-down? Passengers may receive a pat-down in a number of circumstances:

  • To resolve an alarm at a walk-through metal detector
  • If an anomaly is detected during screening with advanced imaging technology
  • During random screening

Passengers who opt out of enhanced screening such as advanced imaging technology will receive an equivalent level of screening to include a thorough pat-down. Remember, you can always request to be screened in a private area.

You shouldn’t expect to see the same security procedures at every airport. The TSA’s security measures are designed to be unpredictable and are constantly assessed and updated to address evolving threats.

For more information on the TSA’s practices and procedures please visit