AUBURN — No more sneaking drugs or contraband into the DeKalb County Jail — not even inside the body.
The jail’s new body scanner has arrived and will begin operation Thursday. It will check every arriving inmate for drugs, weapons or anything else the person might be trying to smuggle.
“The places that they hide items was pretty gross, and pretty extravagant to get it in here,” said Sheriff David Cserep II.
“We can’t have any drugs or any type of contraband here in the jail, so we tried to find ways of getting a scanner,” he said. “This is one of our bigger projects.”
Cserep learned from another sheriff that money to buy a scanner could be obtained through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. One reason it qualifies is that the scanner checks the temperature of arriving inmates to screen for the coronavirus.
To Cserep’s amazement, the jail’s application for a CARES grant of $169,000 received approval only two hours after it was submitted.
“This is a pleasant surprise — very excited to have it,” Cserep said. “If we can get some of the federal funding, it helps us as taxpayers.”
Buying a scanner without the CARES grant would have been difficult, he added
The sheriff’s office had reduced the jail population in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has built back up to around 85-87, slightly above the preferred capacity of 80. However, DeKalb County is not housing any overflow prisoners in surrounding counties, as it has done routinely in recent years, Cserep said.