Carter County Jail using full body scanner

John Thompson • Jan 9, 2018 at 10:51 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford believes he has a new ally in the effort to prevent contraband from being smuggled into the county jail.

“All correctional facilities constantly fight attempts by inmates, including inmate work crews, bringing drugs, weapons and other contraband into their facility. This is done by hiding these items on and in their bodies. The challenge in stopping this is that body cavity searches can only be accomplished with search warrants and medical personnel. We think we have obtained a solution,” Lunceford said in a recent press release.

Last month, the Carter County Jail began using a full body scanner, similar to the ones used in airports to detect metal and nonmetal hidden objects. “This scanner will allow us to check everyone ... entering the secure area of the facility, for drugs and weapons,” Lunceford said.

Lunceford said he believes the Carter County scanner is the only one being used in the state, except for those operated by the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

The sheriff said the scanner was purchased with revenue coming from the inmate telephone system and no county tax money was spent.

Security was further enhanced with the addition of a third police dog assigned to the jail, Lunceford said. This dog can detect drugs, weapons and electronic devices.

It is a felony to attempt to bring such items into a correctional facility, and Lunceford said “those who attempt this will now be caught and prosecuted. These two additions will make our jail as close to contraband-free as possible and as safe as it can be for inmates and employees.”

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