New scanner at Jefferson County Jail keeps staff from having to conduct body searches

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HILLSBORO, Mo. – Fox 2 got an exclusive look at a new piece of equipment coming to the Jefferson County authorities that’s designed to keep jail inmates and corrections officers safe and could save taxpayers millions of dollars.

“It’s a matter of limited danger to our employees in the jail but also danger to the inmates in the jail,” said Grant Bissell, spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Before inmates end up in the custody of the Jefferson County Jail, they are checked out by a brand new body scanner.

“It reveals just about everything that somebody might try to sneak in here,” Bissell said.

It was tough before the scanner. An inmate who was suspected of hiding something inside their body forced corrections officers to get a court order to intimately search the person. Now they can just use the body scanner.

“It takes minutes versus hours to get a warrant signed by a judge to do a body cavity search,” Bissell said.

Training photos showed the scan found handcuff keys in a pocket. In another image, the white spots in the person’s stomach were small bags of drugs that were swallowed.

Earlier this year, three female inmates at the Franklin County Jail were rushed to the hospital after a fourth inmate smuggled drugs into the jail.

The scanner can take many different views of the inmate. And by doing so, smuggled items can be revealed. In one instance, a knife was discovered hidden in a shoe. The scanner has been in use since May.

Deputies have discovered contraband on some inmates but nothing serious like weapons or drugs as of yet.

Besides safety, officials believe the $125,000 scanner will cut down on personal injury lawsuits. If someone sneaks drugs or weapons into the jail and someone is hurt, you can bet they’re going to try and sue the county.

“That means potentially millions of dollars saved (by taxpayers),” Bissell said.

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