Monday, December 9, 2019
[Santa Cruz County] Santa Cruz jail gets new body scanner, hopes to reduce drug smuggling
Blog note: this article references a grand jury report that recommended body scanning equipment to detect drugs being smuggled into the jail.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office has a new tool that they believe will cut down on the amount of contraband being smuggled into the main jail on Front Street.
Body scanner machines are now being used, they are similar to what airport security are currently using, but this is being used on inmates who may be smuggling drugs or weapons into the main jail on their person.
More than 300 inmates housed at the Santa Cruz County jail are greeted with a pat down search and pass through a metal detector, all monitored by security cameras and correctional officers.
"And then on top of all that we now have the body scanner. It's a tool that's being used in conjunction of everything else that correctional officers are already doing," said Ashley Keehen, Pubic Information Officer with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office.
The Santa Cruz County Grand Jury report earlier this year recommended the Sheriff's Office "Research & Evaluate" body scanning equipment to detect drugs being smuggled into the jail.
They already were doing their research when the Board of Supervisors approved it.
"We got a report from the Grand Jury there have been a couple of incidents we needed to respond and I appreciate the Sheriff taking the leadership to getting the equipment he needs to keep the jail safe," said Santa Cruz County Supervisor, Ryan Coonerty.
The body scanner has only been in operation for the last two days and correctional officers have already recovered contraband.
One hundred correctional officers are going through the training process to learn how to use the body scan machine. Currently, the Sheriff's Office is leasing it with the intention of purchase, that cost is almost $175,000.
"It's just another layer to ensure the safety of everyone inside the jail not only our correctional officers but also inmates as well," said Keehen.
For security purposes we couldn't show you exactly how it scans but I can tell you it does provide an image of where a suspicious item may be located on the person without having them remove clothing.
The Sheriff's Office is also planning another tool to deter contraband: a detection dog that will be joining the correctional staff next year and will be trained to sniff out drugs.
December 5, 2019
KSBW 8 The Central Coast
By Phil Gomez