Montgomery County Jail adds body scanner to thwart smuggling

A Montgomery County corrections officer looks at a scanned image from the jail's new body scanner January 16th, 2018.

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is using new technology to help beef up jail security. The county recently purchased a $122,000 body scanner to improve inmate screening during intake at the jail.

Chief Deputy Rob Streck explained all prisoners are first patted down by an arresting officer, then searched again by intake staff at the jail. More thorough strip or cavity searches cannot be done without probable cause, but the new machine will be able to provide a third, more comprehensive search without violating an inmate’s privacy.

“Anything that could have been missed in the two searches prior will be found at that point,” said Streck.

The scanner works similarly to an x-ray machine. It takes an image of the entire body, showing the skeleton, any metal on clothing or non-organic material, like weapons or drugs, hidden inside of a person’s body.

Trained operators can use the tool to find contraband, such as swallowed pills or weapons concealed in body cavities.

Chief Deputy Streck said as the opioid epidemic grows, jails around the country are experiencing an influx of smuggled drugs, sometimes leading incarcerated individuals to overdose.

“When you can hide things in or on your body in places that we’re not allowed to look, it makes it easy to smuggle tiny pieces of pill or powder in (to jail),” Streck said.

He said he hopes the new scanner will help eliminate the risk of overdose, and protect anyone inside of the jail from weapons.

“The ultimate goal is to keep anything that can harm our inmates or our employees out of this jail and make it the most safe and secure facility there is for our inmates,” said Streck.

Several other jails in the state are already using the technology. Any inmates caught trying to smuggle contraband face additional felony charges.

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