Police may use ground metal detectors to find buried or hidden weapons and other evidence. For example, if a suspect leads police to the location of buried evidence, a metal detector can be used to find the evidence quickly without exerting the effort to dig up the entire property. Many ground search metal detectors will even display the type of object found, which can reduce the need for officers to waste time digging up the wrong object. For this use, law enforcement agencies often choose Garrett metal detectors, which are well known to operate in rough terrain.
Handheld metal detectors, of course, are another type of metal detector that is frequently used in a law enforcement setting. Although many police stations, jails, and other law enforcement buildings have built-in, walk-through metal detectors, police often rely on handheld devices, particularly when working security for a large event. Using such devices is often much faster than a pat down search, and is often a necessary step after the walk-through detector alerts security to the presence of a hidden metal object. Handheld metal detecting wands are often seen as a compromise between walk-through detectors, which do not pinpoint the location of the contraband, and strip searches, which are often regarded as intrusive and unnecessary.
You may see these metal detectors after someone in the security line has set off the walk-through detector, but handheld metal detectors are perhaps just as frequently used as an initial screening method, especially in situations when a strip search is not appropriate and a walk-through detector cannot be installed, such as at a temporary event.
Recently, many police agencies across the world have taken to the streets with handheld, wand-style metal detectors in areas where gun and knife violence has become prevalent. These metal detector operations are often undertaken after police notice a rise in violence. Police officers with such scanners may be stationed on specific streets or near a group of nightclubs, for example. Although stop and search methods have been criticized in the past, in many cases they receive wide community support when the issue is handled sensitively.
This simple, easy-to-use and portable device is often chosen by law enforcement and security agencies as a direct replacement for other methods of searching, whether for guns and other contraband on those walking into a secure area, or for a gun that has been discarded by the side of a deserted road. Handheld detectors offer optimum sensitivity, with a large scan area in which ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless steel weapons and other metallic objects may be detected. Many police offers find metal detectors to be an essential part of their law enforcement arsenal.
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