OTTAWA — Putnam County Sheriff’s Office has a new body scanner that searches inmates for contraband to keep other inmates, the community and staff safer.
The CONPAS scanner was $165,000 and was purchased using a $10,000 grant provided by CORSA, the county’s liability insurance company, the jail’s commissary funds totalling $50,000 and $100,000 from Putnam County, according to Miguel Ortiz, Putnam County Sheriffs Office jail administrator.
The machine, installed a month and a half ago, scans inmates internally and externally. It was purchased from Adani, Texas. The sheriff’s office did not previously have a body scanner in the jail.
“As soon as we get an inmate, the booking process begins with them going through the scanner,” Ortiz said. The inmate stands in the scanner while it scans for seven seconds.
“Our number one goal is safety and security of the public, staff and inmates,” Ortiz said.
There are two monitors that are used to search the entire body and another to search a torso while the inmate stands on a platform.
The machine shows jail staff the outline of pills that are in inmate’s system or any contraband they have.
When pills are found to be in their system or contraband is on their person they are taken to Ambulatory Care.
Jail staff attended a conference last October where they viewed one of the systems in Mansfield.
Ortiz looked at several companies that make similar scanners and felt what was purchased was the best product for the money.
“It is a great investment because the staff feel more safe as well as inmates,” Ortiz said.
Brian Siefker, Putnam County sheriff, said there are too many stories at jails of contraband being brought in.
“We want safety here and don’t want any weapons or overdoses or any other contraband coming into this jail,” Siefker said.
Inmates are scanned at booking as well as after returning from work release.
Siefker and Ortiz thanked the commissioners for their support.
Vincent Schroeder, Putnam County commissioner, said contraband is a big issue.
“We think the scanner will pay for itself in safety,” Schroeder said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.