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Could French Quarter cops use cameras that spot guns through clothing?

In this March 4, 2014 file, photo, revelers pack the French Quarter during Mardi Gras, as seen from the balcony of the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans. Mardi Gras falls on Feb. 17 this year.
In this March 4, 2014 file, photo, revelers pack the French Quarter during Mardi Gras, as seen from the balcony of the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans. Mardi Gras falls on Feb. 17 this year. AP

Cameras that can spot guns through layers of clothing — using infrared or similar technologies — may be included in sweeping new security measures for Bourbon Street to be proposed soon by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, according to several people familiar with the plan.

The cameras would be able to pick up on differences in the temperature between guns and human bodies, allowing officers to then focus on those carrying weapons.

The idea is part of a broader effort to prevent the type of shootout that killed one person and wounded nine others on Bourbon Street in November, as well as to avert potential terrorist attacks. But stepped-up surveillance of that kind will inevitably raise questions about privacy and constitutional rights.

Details about the overall security plan have not been released by Landrieu’s administration, and it is unclear whether the high-tech scanners will end up in the final version of the proposal, which also calls for making much of Bourbon Street a pedestrian mall.

But several people briefed on the ideas being discussed said infrared-type cameras are on the table.

For more on this story, visit the New Orleans Advocate.

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