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									By Douglas Page

SUV-mounted radiation                                 RadTruck
detection monitors take
counterterrorism                                                                   stops here
to the streets

  I     magine being able to detect a
        radiation source no larger than
  a grain of sand, determine whether        of providing accurate, positive
                                                                                   — a device designed to disperse
                                                                                   radioactive contamination without
                                                                                   the thermonuclear blast.
  it’s lethal 137cesium or the harm-        warning and identification when
  less potassium found in a banana          suspicious materials come within       Instant terror
  in an instant while cruising past at      detection range. Or, in the case          Even though a dirty bomb inci-
  street speed in a police Blazer.          of the RadTrucks, when the units       dent would be unlikely to cause
      Radiation detection devices           come within range of the suspi-        many deaths, its real purpose
  called Adaptable Radiation Area           cious material. The New Jersey         would be to create instant terror in
  Monitors, or ARAM, devel-                 State Police has four RadTrucks.       the form of mass panic, with lin-
  oped at California’s Lawrence             California also has a fleet of about   gering psychological damage. The
  Livermore National Laboratory             20 of the $200,000 vehicles. The       aftermath would be as unpleasant
  (LLNL), are mounted in the                Secret Service is also said to have    as it is unprecedented. If a dirty
  cargo areas in the back of SUVs           one. Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, radia-   bomb device were to be detonated
  called RadTrucks to take counter-         tion portal monitors were used         in a crowded sports arena or holi-
  terrorism to the streets.                 primarily to keep plutonium and        day shopping mall, decontamina-
      The ARAM devices are auto-            uranium from being smuggled out        tion and treatment of potentially
  matic portal monitors built to            of nuclear facilities, or to prevent   thousands of panic-stricken vic-
  detect illicit low-energy gamma           contaminated scrap metal from          tims, as well as decontamination
  rays and neutron emissions                entering industrial steel mills. The   of affected areas, would be lengthy
  characteristic of weapons-grade           principle fear was that terrorists     and expensive. A dirty bomb set
  plutonium and highly-enriched             could use the contraband nuclear       off in a metropolitan setting would
  uranium. The units are capable            material to assemble a dirty bomb      also render the contaminated area

50    Law Enforcement Technology   ■   May 2009   ■
                                                                                             New Jersey outfitted a fleet of SUVs with
                                                                                             ARAM equipment to patrol its roadways.

                                                                                             for years. Yet, few protections exist
                                                                                             today that can be readily installed
                                                                                             into the stream of commerce to
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