Device detects radiation in Fort Worth - Dallas News |

Device detects radiation in Fort Worth

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For the second time in a week, Fort Worth police officers have detected potentially dangerous levels of radiation.

For about two months, officers having been wearing pager-sized nuclear detectors around the city. On Tuesday morning something in the parking lot at 5th and Jones streets set off an officer's device.

"They'll pick up naturally occurring radiation, people who have been on nuclear meds," said Sgt. John Marshall with the Fort Worth Police Department.

Tuesday's alarm sounded because something in the dirt was emitting levels that were high enough for the state Office of Emergency Management to get called in.

"This situation was not immediately dangerous, but we still want to identify the source and get it out of the area," said Tim Hardeman with the Fort Worth Fire Department.

A week ago another officer's device went off at the post office on Rosedale.

"It went off and showed a very low reading," Sgt. Marshall said.

A robot was brought in and more sophisticated equipment showed a suspicious package was not dangerous. The officer's device had hit on naturally occurring radiation.

Earlier this year the police department received 77 devices from the federal government to help intercept terroristic threats before they become a danger.

"It would help find radioactive material in transit like on a traffic stop or if someone brought a backpack to an event that had a high level of radiation," Marshall said.

The devices can also help protect officers and the public from high levels of radiation, whether they are naturally occurring or in toxic waste.

The program is a partnership with Dallas and Arlington.

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