By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – Inmates being booked into the Canadian County Jail are thinking twice about trying to sneak contraband into the detention facility.
That’s due in large part to a full-body scanner now operational in the receiving area at the county lock-up, 304 N Evans.
“It’s a great tool – a great deterrent,” Detention Capt. Austin Moore said. “It’s going to help us keep the contraband down in this jail.
“Every jail is going to have that issue of contraband. Any tool we can come up with to try to limit that, as much as possible, is always going to benefit the safety and security of the jail staff and the public.”
In April, Canadian County Commissioners awarded a $147,000 contract to Tek 84, Inc. for the body scanning equipment.
The Canadian County Sheriff’s Office requested the full-body scanner because of incidents in which inmates were caught trying to conceal drugs, weapons and even a cell phone inside the jail.
Word apparently has gotten out among local miscreants that the Canadian County Jail now has this scanner.
“They start to drop (contraband) before they come in,” Capt. Moore shared.
Canadian County Jail staff began using the machine about 1-1/2 months ago after receiving training from the company.
“All our detention officers are trained in how to use the scanner and what to look for,” Moore said. “Our supervisors have gone through a more extensive training.”
The Canadian County Sheriff’s Office had to wait until Oct. 31 for a Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) permit before using the machine.
The amount of radiation that comes from this body scanner is “miniscule” compared to an x-ray, Capt. Moore noted.
“You get more radiation stepping outside than from this machine,” he added.
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.
Several Canadian County inmates have been criminally charged in 2022 for having hand-fashioned weapons used to attack fellow prisoners.
Others have been caught with drugs and one even died from an overdose caused by another inmate.
When an arrestee is booked into the Canadian County Jail, a detention officer first conducts a “pat search” to check for any contraband on their body and clothing.
Each incoming inmate then steps into the new body scanner, providing an extra level of security. They must stand still as they are scanned.
“It’s a great machine,” Moore said. “I’m glad we have it.”
Four vendors submitted bids to provide the scanning equipment for the Canadian County Jail.
Jail Administrator Kristie Carter recommended Tek 84, Inc. because the jail’s intake area could better accommodate its machine.
The other three vendors offered machines that would be too large for the available space at the Canadian County Jail.
Had one of those bids been awarded, Maj. 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 scanner a “much-needed tool for intaking prisoners” as they arrive at the county jail.