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Walk-Through Metal Detectors for Personnel
(Chapter 3   Metal Detection, Continued)

Working with the vendor

Vendors of portal metal detectors may be willing to come to a school with the equipment and perform a demonstration. After the vendor has set up the portal, preferably in the area the school is considering for the ultimate placement of the equipment, and the device's own internal diagnostics and acceptance tests have been run, the demonstrator should be told to set the sensitivities to what he or she considers to be the optimal settings. After this point, the demonstrator should not be allowed to adjust these settings further. (If allowed to constantly readjust the equipment, a less scrupulous demonstrator could constantly reset a device with the knowledge of what is to be the target for each test, such that each target is detected or not detected, as desired.) The school would then run its own set of tests to determine the sensitivities of the equipment. This should include walking volunteer students through with weapon replicas and walking students through who have normal borderline items on their body. (See the section on items that can cause false alarms.) After two or three such demonstration sessions by different vendors, most law enforcement agencies or school security departments will develop a familiarity with portal metal detector features and what their own application may require.

When issuing a bid for a portal metal detector, a school should require in the RFQ that a bidder meet a series of performance tests, such as those defined in the section on acceptance testing and performance testing. The vendor who is chosen must be required to set up his equipment where desired at the school and then meet the required performance tests. It should also be specified that the vendor will not be paid until these requirements are met. Language in the contract should allow the school to withdraw the contract if the chosen vendor fails to meet these obligations within 2-3 weeks after initial installation.

 



Research Report:   The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools