By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – A new full body scanner to keep inmates from bringing contraband into the Canadian County Jail will be installed this week.
The 3-foot by, 6-foot machine will soon be up and running in the receiving area at the county’s detention center, 304 N Evans.
Canadian County Commissioners, at their April 25th meeting, awarded a $147,000 contract to Tek 84, Inc. for the body scanning equipment.
“It won’t be operational until after we have received the training from the company,” Canadian County Undersheriff Kevin Ward emphasized.
Jail personnel are due to be trained during the week of Sept. 19.
The Canadian County Sheriff’s Office is still awaiting a Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) permit to use the machine.
“After training is finished, we’ll begin scanning,” Ward added.
Four vendors submitted bids to provide the body scanner for the Canadian County Jail. Others ranged from $105,000 to $146,900.
Although Tek 84’s price was the highest, Canadian County Jail Administrator Kristie Carter recommended this company because the jail’s intake area can better accommodate its machine.
In late April, Carter went to the Garfield County Jail to view Tek 84’s body scanner, which she said has no moving parts and is “less likely to break down.”
The other three vendors offered machines that would be too large (9 feet by 7 feet and 7 feet by 6 feet) for the available space at the Canadian County Jail.
Had one of those bids been awarded, Carter said it would have required construction costs to make room for a larger-size machine.
Canadian County Commission Chairman Dave Anderson called the body-scanning equipment a “much-needed tool for intaking prisoners” as they arrive at the county jail.
Canadian County Sheriff Chris West took that a step further, calling the scanner a “game changer” for his department.
The Canadian County Sheriff’s Office requested the full-body scanner this spring because of incidents in which inmates were caught with drugs and weapons inside the jail.
Several Canadian County inmates have been criminally charged for having hand-fashioned weapons used to attack fellow prisoners.
Others have been caught with drugs and one even died from an overdose allegedly caused by another inmate.
In addition, a jail inmate allegedly tried to set a fire inside a cell.
State law makes it illegal for occupants of county jails or state prisoners to have any narcotics, weapons, explosives, incendiary devices, intoxicating beverage, or money.
The new full body scanner at the Canadian County Jail will be similar to what passengers pass through at an airport security checkpoint, Ward explained.
“There are some areas that contraband can be (hidden), that without probable cause we can’t search,” he told commissioners.