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New technology to improve L.A. port security

February 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced Wednesday it is taking new steps to improve security at the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach.The new measures include a specially outfitted ship to screen cargo vessels, a radiation detecting helicopter and a dog that can sniff chemical and biological weapons.

The $3-million screening ship is the first of its kind in the world. It can scan the contents of a ship through its hull as it is being escorted into port. The security ship can transmit the data to shore based authorities. It also has a submersible rover that can search hulls for explosives in zero visibility conditions.

It's being paid for by the Department of Homeland Security, as is the radiation detector pod for the helicopter. It's valued at about $220,000.

Even the dog has special credentials. The sheriff's department says he has one of the most highly trained noses ever. He can sniff out chemical agents at lower concentrations than any instruments. He's also the only dog in the sheriff's department with his own badge.