When the War on Drugs was launched more than 40 years ago, the only tools a law enforcement officer needed to shakedown a citizen for possession of marijuana was a pair of cowboy boots, a drug-sniffing dog and a box of rubber gloves. These days, cops now have the use of military-grade tactical equipment, which will soon include a handheld x-ray gun that can search automobiles for drugs.
The American Science & Engineering Company recently developed an x-ray device called the “Mini Z System,” which is essentially a smaller version of the scanners used at security checkpoints in airports all over the world. The scientific minds behind this new law enforcement tool say they have worked for the past seven years to scale down x-ray technology and make it user-friendly enough for any police officer to operate, regardless of their personal aptitude.
Chuck Dougherty, CEO of the American Science & Engineering Company recently told the pro-police site, DefenseOne.com that the development of this technology will allow officers to more effectively fight the War on Drugs. Mini Z is “a game-changer for law enforcement and border security officials who are constantly challenged to quickly and accurately detect potential threats in hard-to-reach environments.”
In the field, police officers would utilize Mini Z to scan vehicles and their contents during routine traffic stops, which depending on the proximity of their search, will not require a warrant. This means anyone smuggling marijuana or any other illegal substances in their car tires, bumpers or other easy-to-reach, exterior stash points could be pulled over and searched without probable cause.
With a price tag of $50,000, it could be awhile before your local yokel police department applies this x-ray dope-sniffing tactic in your neck of the woods… but then again, maybe not. Police forces all across the country are currently obtaining military-grade equipment with federal funds provided under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. This government incentive program rewards local police departments with cash and equipment based on their collective number of small-scale drug arrests.
Unfortunately, as long as police departments across the country continue to bust nonviolent stoners, we will likely see the use of x-ray technology on American roadways in the not so distant future.