Clinton County Jail introduces new full-body scanner

·3 min read

Sep. 23—PLATTSBURGH — A new full-body scanner at the Clinton County Jail looks to prevent dangerous contraband from entering and leaving the facility.

Sheriff David Favro said the Intercept Tek84, which is more accurate than an airport scanner, is not only capable of scanning the internal part of an inmate's body to accurately detect contraband like weapons, drugs or cell phones, but it can also record the temperature of the individual to prevent any sickness, whether that's COVID or another virus, from spreading throughout the jail.

DANGER IN THIS ROOM

"The sole purpose is to enhance the safety and security of the facility. Most importantly, the safety of our officers that are exposed to the total unknown when they bring multiple individuals in here under arrest for any type of case you can possibly imagine," he said during a press conference at the jail Thursday.

"The big difference between a state facility and a county facility ... you know why they're there (at a state facility). You know what their sentence is and the inmate knows why they're there and how long they will be there. When you come into a county jail, we just don't know sometimes what we have.

"There's a lot of danger that is exposed right here in this room when the initial intake process happens."

COULD SCAN VISITORS

Favro said up to 180 scans can be done in an hour, because it only takes four seconds to scan an inmate's entire body.

A photograph is also taken of each inmate during the scanning process to attach to their document, so there's no confusion as to who the scan belongs to.

So far, only inmates are put through the scanner — whether it's at random or it's because they're entering or leaving the facility. In the future, there may be a way to scan certain visitors as needed.

The Intercept Tek84 cost $160,000 and was purchased entirely with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding — money given to the county from the federal government to use with COVID recovery efforts.

COVID FUNDING

Because of the scanner's ability to detect body temperature, it qualified for the funding, Favro said.

"It protects our people, our employees, it protects our inmate population, but it also can help us reach down the road and maybe circumvent a larger contagious situation where we have an internal pandemic, where we've got 50 or 60 inmates that are sick. We can isolate this," he said.

"It can have many, many benefits for us in the future. First and foremost, right now, is going to be the safety, so we don't have the weapons and the drugs and the overdose problems that are coming in."

'IT'S ON US'

Lt. Kevin Laurin, a 25-year veteran correction officer at Clinton County Jail, who initially brought the idea of the Intercept Tek84 to the sheriff's attention, said morale among the officers has jumped since its installation on July 1.

Along with feeling safer, the staff is now more equipped to do their job of keeping the inmates safe, he said.

"Everybody knows what's going on in the community with the overdoses and things like that. I don't want anything getting in the jail, because it's our job, that's our responsibility ... if something happens to somebody in here, it's on us," Laurin said.

"We don't want that."

KEEP THEM OFF BALANCE

The jail plans to use the new scanner as a way of maintaining an unpredictable edge with the inmates as well.

"I'm trying to get the officers to mix things up," Laurin said.

"Sometimes, when they come back in from court, we'll put them in here, sometimes, we'll just pat-frisk them. We got to be one step ahead of them all the time, just to keep them off balance."

"The days of just being able to conceal drugs and weapons are coming to a screeching halt and that's again, because of this device," Favro said.

Email: cnewton@pressrepublican.com

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