Gadgetry On Patrol At Borders
The U.S. Border Patrol currently employs more than 10,000 agents who patrol U.S. borders shared by Mexico and Canada and secure the coasts off Florida and Puerto Rico. The agency uses “smart border technology” to thwart individuals from coming into the country illegally, including an integrated biometric identification system that shares suspects’ photos, fingerprints, and biographical information with other databases.
Border patrol agents are also relying on sophisticated equipment such as seismic, magnetic, and thermal sensors to identify small changes in the environment as well as remote video surveillance systems with thermal, color, and infrared cameras.
Furthermore, patrol agents are turning to directional listening devices and unmanned aerial vehicles with infrared sensors. These vehicles are able to navigate virtually undetected across large swathes of land in hard-to-reach areas.
Upcoming technological approaches could take the form of a national identification card with biometric data such as a retina scan, fingerprints, or DNA information; and “signcutting,” which seeks to recognize changes in the natural terrain of an area. Meanwhile, those attempting to cross the border illegally are using such tools as cell phones, infrared night goggles, and GPS (global positioning system) technology.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (IN) (11/07/05) P. D6; Voland, Gerard .