It has been one year since the Charlotte County Jail introduced a new tool to help prevent the introduction of drugs and other contraband – the RadPro SecurPass, which uses transmission imaging to conduct a virtual body scan.
The machine works somewhat like a scanner at the airport. The detainee stands on a platform that moves side-to-side through a scanning device, and a deputy on a nearby computer can see the scans. With training, the deputy can pick out items that should not be there.
“Incoming detainees frequently attempt to smuggle contraband into the jail,” stated Major Michael Anderson, the Commander of the Corrections Bureau. “Previously, a minor amount of drugs hidden in a body cavity would likely be undetectable by our staff. Since the introduction of the SecurPass, we can see the drugs inside the person without a cavity search.”
The scanner successfully intercepted a syringe, lighter, and crack pipe on a woman arrested for a warrant this past October. The arrested woman had concealed the items inside her body prior to arriving to the jail. She was charged and later convicted for Introduction of Contraband to a County Detention Facility, a Felony charge.
In a February incident, a detainee assigned to the kitchen was caught concealing dry condiments and spices on his body to remove them from the kitchen. The workers are scanned after each shift to ensure they are not removing items from their assigned areas.
Detainees are scanned at the time of their arrest, when returning from work release, and also at random. In addition, deputies can scan linens, shoes, mattresses, and other large items when needed.
“The word has spread about attempting to bring contraband into our jail; if you have something, we will find it,” stated Sheriff Bill Prummell. “Over the past year, this scanner has served as a great tool to protect both the detainees and employees from illegal items being smuggled into our jail.”