Workers install a new body scanner in the Greene County jail that is intended to help curb the flow of illegal drugs into the jail and stem a spike in inmate overdoses.
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

New body scanner in Greene County Jail turning up contraband

A full-body scanner at the Greene County Jail has already proved itself since it went into operation in late September, said Maj. Kirk Keller, the jail administrator. 

“The amount of drugs that people were attempting to bring in has been effectively reduced,” he said “It has identified drugs — drugs either in or on their body. So it’s been a great asset for us trying to keep the inmates safe.”

RELATED: Counties struggle to keep drugs out of their jails

Keller said more than a dozen scans have identified contraband on people, including needles and drugs both swallowed and inserted in rectums, but fewer people are attempting to smuggle because of the machine. 

“The numbers of positive scans that we’re currently getting are declining because they became aware we had this system,” he said. “Many of them have ceased trying to bring drugs in.” 

RELATED: Greene Co. Jail buys scanner to combat drug smuggling 

Pat-downs were the most thorough search a county officer could conduct before the scanners were approved, Keller said. Ohio law prohibits pre-sentencing facilities like the county jails from performing strip searches without probable cause. 

“The scanner permits a non-intrusive measure to allow us to see if there is something in or on a person that a pat-down might miss,” he said.

Montgomery County installed a new machine that will go into service as soon as it is certified by the Ohio Department of Health.

RELATED: Body scanner to take aim at dope entering Montgomery County Jail

The cost of the systems has dropped in half over the last couple of years — now about $120,000 — making them more affordable for counties. Butler and Miami counties also added jail scanners during the past year. Warren County is holding off on a scanner until construction of a new $50 million jail planned for 2020.

MORE: New Butler County Jail body scanner deters weapon, drug smuggling 

MORE: Miami County step closer to using body scanner at jail 

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