MILITARY

Schumer: Feds must work faster to test explosive detectors

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 photo, University of Rhode Island engineering professor Otto Gregory is reflected in a silicon wafer that contains sensors to detect explosives, in front of a thin film surface analyzer in a laboratory on the school's campus, in Kingston, R.I. He has developed a sensor that detects the explosive used in the Paris bombings, to try to stop future attacks. Gregory compares his sensor to a dog’s nose, the gold standard in explosives detection. It "sniffs" the air for vapors emitted from explosives. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 photo, University of Rhode Island engineering professor Otto Gregory is reflected in a silicon wafer that contains sensors to detect explosives, in front of a thin film surface analyzer in a laboratory on the school's campus, in Kingston, R.I. He has developed a sensor that detects the explosive used in the Paris bombings, to try to stop future attacks. Gregory compares his sensor to a dog’s nose, the gold standard in explosives detection. It "sniffs" the air for vapors emitted from explosives. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 8, 2001 file photo, Otto Gregory, co-director and professor of chemical engineering at the University of Rhode Island points to a Perkin-Elmer Surface Analyzer during a forensic science news conference in Kingston, R.I.  The surface analyzer is a multi-purpose analyzer containing a high resolution optical microscope and an electron microscope. URI scientists are pooling the technology to develop new tools for preventing terrorism including bioterrorism. (AP Photo/Victoria Arocho)

    FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 8, 2001 file photo, Otto Gregory, co-director and professor of chemical engineering at the University of Rhode Island points to a Perkin-Elmer Surface Analyzer during a forensic science news conference in Kingston, R.I. The surface analyzer is a multi-purpose analyzer containing a high resolution optical microscope and an electron microscope. URI scientists are pooling the technology to develop new tools for preventing terrorism including bioterrorism. (AP Photo/Victoria Arocho)  (The Associated Press)

Sen. Charles Schumer of New York says the Department of Homeland Security must work faster to begin testing explosive detectors that can sense compounds that have been used in recent extremist attacks.

Otto Gregory, a chemical engineer at the University of Rhode Island, developed the electronic trace detection system to sense vapor from explosives, including the bomb-making material TATP.

The government has funded the project for the last eight years, and Gregory says Homeland Security plans to field test the system this fall.

But Schumer says the agency should begin testing sooner and determine if the devices can be installed in airports and train stations.

TATP was used by Islamic State extremists in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks and was found in an apartment where the Brussels attackers had stayed.