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Emerging Technology in Criminal Justice

Concealed Weapon and Contraband Detection

Contraband detection systems allow agencies and officers to detect and diffuse potential threats.  Research and development efforts are under way on systems that detect a variety of contraband, from drugs to human beings to concealed weapons. Because concealed weapons—principally handguns and edged weapons—pose a potentially lethal threat to law enforcement and corrections personnel, a number of research projects are focused on their detection. Current detection systems include portal-type metal detectors (as encountered in airports and many office buildings) and metal-detecting wands. Despite limitations—e.g., limited range, high false-alarm rates, obtrusiveness—these devices have provided a certain margin of safety in areas such as prison visitor areas, government offices, courts, and schools. Holster, Shoulder Holster, Armed, Weapon, Gun, Handgun

Required Reading

Concealed Weapon and Contraband Detection

  1. Introduction:
    1. Scanning Technologies. (2005). In K. L. Lerner & B. W. Lerner (Eds.), World of Forensic Science (Vol. 2, pp. 599-600). Detroit: Gale. Retrieved from
    2. "Gas Chromatograph-mass Spectrometer." World of Forensic Science. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 2005. 323-324. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.
  2. Resources:
    1. DeNisco, A. (2015). Trained canines search for weapons. District Administration, 51(2), 24.
    2. Ely, J. A., & Craig, T. (2009). Developing Testing Methodology for the Use of Noninvasive Whole Body Scanners. Corrections Today, 71(4), 44-47.
    3. Overton, G. (2013). Will full-body scanners keep you safe and secure? Laser Focus World, 49(3), 45-47.
    4. Neroth, P. (2011). Beyond body scanners. Engineering & Technology (17509637), 6(8), 50-52. doi:10.1049/et.2011.0805
    5. Hankin, A., Hertz, M., & Simon, T. (2011). Impacts of metal detector use in schools: Insights from 15 years of research. Journal of School Health, 81(2), 100-106.
    6. Biometric Eye Scans. (2005). In K. L. Lerner & B. W. Lerner (Eds.), World of Forensic Science (Vol. 1, pp. 82-84). Detroit: Gale. Retrieved from
    7. Sanchez, J. (2007, January). The Pinpoint Search. Reason. pp. 20-28.
    8. United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice. (2016, April 11). Contraband control and detection. Retrieved May 3, 2016, from
    9. United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice. (2012, March 23). Detecting drugs on surfaces quickly and easily. Retrieved May 3, 2016, from

Recommended Reading

Additional Resources