Corrections, jail to get body scanners

by | Jul 15, 2020 | Press | 0 comments

JASPER — If all goes as planned, Dubois County Community Corrections and the county jail will each be outfitted with a body scanner that will scan inmates and corrections participants when they return to the facilities.

Dubois County Emergency Management Agency Director Tammy Humbert and Dubois County Sheriff Tom Kleinhelter requested $278,000 for two scanners from the Dubois County Council on Monday.

Kleinhelter said he considered the scanners when he first took office, but because they are so expensive, tabled the idea, thinking that maybe they could be purchased when the new justice center is built.

Since no decision has been made on the justice center and with available federal CARES Act dollars for the county, he and Corrections Director Megan Durlauf decided it was to their advantage to purchase the scanners now.

The county will be reimbursed the full amount from its allotted $1.38 million in CARES Act funding.

The scanners will be purchased from Tek84, and will scan inmates and corrections participants instead of officers having to pat them down every time they return to the facilities. They will scan for things like weapons, contraband and drugs.

“It’s going to be very similar to what you get at an airport,” Kleinhelter said. “It does a complete body scan in 4 seconds.”

The scanners’ technology will also keep track of how many times a person has been scanned in a year so as not to exceed the maximum amount of radiation.

The scanners fall under CARES Act funding — which is a $2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed federally in response to the COVID-19 pandemic — because they require no touch between an officer and inmate.

“It’s no-touch, and that’s the key here with COVID,” Humbert said.

After Humbert and Kleinhelter’s request, the council agreed to advertise $400,000 in additional appropriations this year from the rainy day fund for COVID-19-related expenses, including the two body scanners. The consensus was that they could provide the money since the county would be reimbursed. 

The additional $122,000 of the $400,000 will be earmarked for other COVID-19 expenses that could arise through the end of the year, but that would also eventually be reimbursed by the CARES Act.

“I think that was the whole point of the CARES Act, to help us get through this,” Humbert said.