Clinton County Jail using body scanner to root out contraband

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 4:23 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - New technology at the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department aims to keep the inmates and staff safe.

Inside the intake room at the county jail is a new tool to help with that potential danger by adding additional eyes to keep contraband that might be missed in the traditional pat-downs and strip searches.

“Many times, people can conceal weapons, drugs, cell phones, and many things inside their body that cannot be detected in either of those processes,” said Clinton County Sheriff David Favr

The full-body scanner works similarly to those at the airport but the sheriff says this scans the inside of the body. “These cameras’ images are all the way up through and they are straight images. So, it gets a straight on much more accurate image,” he said. At the same time, it takes the user’s temperature to monitor for COVID.

The process takes about four seconds and scans the entire body. The 20 officers trained on the machine will get the image a second later. “It gives you that precursor at the very beginning to say that something is wrong here, there is something on this image that is not normal and we need to look into,” Favro said.

If the person doesn’t want to be scanned, they’ll return to old methods or fill out warrant paperwork for a body search.

“If something happens to somebody in here, it’s on us. We don’t want that,” said the jail’s Lt. Kevin Laurin.

It cost $160,000 and was paid for using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Officials say it has proved itself since they started using it in July, with guards finding contraband several times. They say the key is to check at random. “By having that unpredictability, kind of gives us a little bit of an edge, and we are using that as a guide right now,” Favro said.

If caught with contraband -- depending on what it is -- additional charges could be tacked on to an inmate’s sentence. “The days of just being able to conceal drugs and weapons are coming to a screeching halt,” Favro said.