Redstone Arsenal to use handheld scanners to speed visitor entry

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)-- New technology could soon make it easier for visitors to get onto Redstone Arsenal.

At least, that's the plan for security checking ID's to give visitors clearance.

Christopher Colster, a Redstone Arsenal Public Affairs Officer, lays out the plan.

"It is an iPhone with a scanning device attached to it," he said. "These will scan ID cards while passengers traverse through the gate, reducing quite a bit of the visitors' backlog."

They will be army-issued iPhones, he said, just like the guards' weapons and radios.

When we asked about personal data, he said they wouldn't save any of it on the phone.

"If they're vetted against the background check [from the ID scan] and nothing comes up, then [they] can go ahead on toward the arsenal," said Colster.

Things work a bit differently right now, a process officials hope will speed up once the scanners are introduced.

"What we have in place now is each visitor must stop at the visitor control center and go through the process of getting a badge or an additional ID card." he said. "What this would do is allow our visitors to go right through the gate."

But there's going to be a bit of a learning curve. To train guards and also get the public used to the idea, the scanners will be randomly used during their testing phase in October.

This testing will also keep traffic from backing up on the highway leading to the gate if there's initially issues with the technology.

"The testing we are doing right now is vital because it helps us to find the problems that we have and address those before we fully integrate this system into our arsenal," said Colster. "We can find the right balance."

We're told this would not affect arsenal employees. The scanners will be phased-in throughout the next few months, and are expected to be fully in-place by the end of the year.