COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — A deadly jail escape has prompted officials in a southwestern Iowa county to consider spending up to $200,000 to install body scanners that would be used on inmates when they enter the jail.
Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker told The Daily Nonpareil (http://bit.ly/2te2Vri ) that the scanners would be used to find contraband inmates try to smuggle into the county jail. It would be used as they enter the jail and for trips to and from the courthouse.
“Like with any jail, there’s always that struggle keeping out contraband,” Danker said. “We’re trying to do everything we can. It’s a battle all the time.”
While jail staffers already search inmates, a machine would be able to see more, he said.
“It detects small objects you normally wouldn’t find,” Danker said. “This is a tool we can use.”
A May 1 attempted escape at the jail that resulted in the death of a deputy has led to the push for more security.
Deputy Mark Burbridge was killed when inmate Wesley Correa-Carmenaty attempted to escape. Another deputy was injured. Authorities say Correa-Carmenaty grabbed one of the deputies’ guns and shot them before fleeing. He was later apprehended in Omaha.
County Supervisor Tim Wichman said the jail recently brought in $600,000 above the anticipated revenue which could be used to fund the purchase of the machines.
Jail officials are researching different body scanner brands and speaking with law enforcement agencies that use the machines to determine which brand to get. Supervisor Scott Belt said the department should see the machines in person before making a decision on which vendor to use.
Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, http://www.nonpareilonline.com