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Bronzeville Native Dr. William Yates Is On A Mission To Bring Temperature Scanners To Public Places In Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Chicago doctor is leading the push to get temperature scanners in public places, and one of his first clients is the City of Chicago.

As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, thermal imagers are already in place at City Hall. Kozlov herself has had her temperature scanned heading into Mayor Lori Lightfoot's briefings in the last month.

But the doctor and businessman behind the contract said it is not just about public health. It is also part of his mission to keep people safe.

Thermal scanners are touchless temperature readers. And Bronzeville native Dr. William Yates, founder and chief executive officer of Yates Enterprises, is one man pushing to get them into as many public and private buildings as possible.

For Yates, it's not just about financial gain. It's personal too.

"My community has made me who I am," he said.

Yates now has a contract with Chicago for a total of 12 scanners, which will read people's temperatures when they enter City Hall. In a way, it's a full-circle journey for the former cancer and trauma surgeon – whose personal experiences growing up in Bronzeville, and later with gun violence, impacted his career path.

Decades ago, someone shot at Dr. Yates, but missed. Years later, he came face-to-face with a gunman again.

"Once I was in the emergency department, and after we finished operating on a patient, somebody came in with a gun – and it was absolutely terrifying," Yates said.

Yates does not just sell the $3,000 to $7,000 thermal scanners. He first started selling metal detectors after his encounters with gunmen.

But it's not just about selling. Yates said giving back is important, especially in these turbulent times.

He mentors young medical students in Chicago and employs two people out of prison.

"If you go away for 20 years and you do your best to repent and become a new person, you deserve a second chance," Yates said. "So we're very committed to that cause."

Kozlov reached out to the Mayor's office Wednesday night to ask exactly how the thermal scanners will be put to use at City Hall, and what will happen if someone's temperature is elevated.

Those details were not yet available Wednesday night.

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