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Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Texas Cities Join in Nuclear Detection Effort

Police departments in three adjoining Texas cities have received hundreds of portable radiation detectors from the federal government in accordance with efforts to prevent a nuclear or radiological terrorist strike, the Dallas Morning News reported on Thursday (see GSN, July 13, 2011).

Fort Worth, Arlington, and Dallas divvied up 368 pager-sized radiation monitors and 28 devices that can be carried by hand. The technology, valued at $800,000, came through the U.S. Homeland Security Department.

"What we are unveiling today is the use and deployment of personal radiation detection devices. What these devices will do is help us combat and prevent against terrorist attacks where criminals would utilize radiological or nuclear weapons against our communities," acting Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson said at a press event.

Law enforcement officials were expected to begin using technology by last week. Data collected by the monitors during an incident would be digitally transmitted to medical scientists who would make conclusions on what kind of radioactive substance is involved.

The police effort is primarily focused on deterring and detecting terrorist attacks. Explosives units and fire departments would typically take point in responding to a nuclear or radiological incident, officials said.

"We all have massive special events and we have events that attract tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people," Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead said. "But most importantly, by providing this equipment to our personnel, irregardless of a traffic stop, a loud party at an apartment complex, going to an event, everywhere those employees now walk, travel and drive they have the ability to maintain safety for our residents" (Scott Goldstein, Dallas Morning News, April 19).

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