Procedures for the operator
The vendor of a particular portal metal detector will provide training and procedures that are geared toward the operation of its equipment. In addition, each school will need to develop specific procedures and policies as to the logistics of its metal detection program. This will include how to process or direct a student who has caused an alarm. The rest of this section will familiarize a facility with what to expect and to provide some general recommendations.
Once a portal metal detector has been set up and has been demonstrated to operate accurately in its current position and with its current settings, the operator will not be required to adjust the control settings. The operator of the portal should be aware of the possible sources of interference with the equipment; something as seemingly insignificant as setting a metal trash can alongside the portal metal detector after it has been put into operation can introduce an area of less sensitivity within the scanning area of the equipment. (See the section on sources of interference.)
Some points for the operator to be aware of are:
- Do not allow the scannee to proceed through the portal too fast. Ideally, drawn footprints can be located at the base of the portal within the scanning zone. The operator should insist that each scannee actually place his or her feet on these footprints before proceeding. This will ensure that the scannee has not gone through the portal so fast that he or she could have been inadequately scanned.
- Make certain that no other person is located within a 3-foot radius of the equipment while a scan is being performed. This includes the operator, unless he or she is devoid of any metal on his or her
- Provide a rescan of any person who causes an alarm, even if he or she is able to identify what must have caused the alarm, such as a belt
buckle or necklace. Confirm that this person no longer causes an alarm after the offending item is removed from his or her possession. (Particular programs may provide for a second, more sensitive scan to be performed by a different portal or by a person with a hand-held metal detector rather than by the original portal.)
- Do not allow anyone on the outside of the cleared area the opportunity to hand something to a person who has already been cleared by the portal on the inside of the cleared area (exhibit 3.6).
For a portal metal detector that is located semipermanently in one position, the operator will need only to turn the equipment's power switch on, wait approximately 10 seconds for the unit to warm up, and do a quick performance test (see the section on acceptance testing and performance testing). This process should take less than 5 minutes each morning. For a portal metal detector that is moved into position each morning and put away afterward, more extensive procedures will be required. The equipment vendor will be able to give the school good advice as to what additional morning routines will be necessary.
Research Report: The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools