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Commissioners Approve Purchase Of Body Scanner For Jail
Updated September 7, 2016 7:40 AM
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Whole Body Digital Security Imaging System utilizes a unique and patented blend of micro dose fan beam, slot scanning technology and large field of view imaging capabilities that will allow you to identify external and internal contraband that is “hidden” on or in a subject. A single whole body image of a subject takes less than eight seconds

(BEDFORD) - The Lawrence County Commissioners approved the purchase of a body scanner for the Lawrence County Jail.

Sheriff Mike Branham told the commissioners Tuesday morning the scanner is needed to stop drugs from being smuggled into the jail.

He showed the commissioners a photo of two golf ball sized baggies of meth that a female inmate attempted to smuggle into the jail.

"Jail officers found this a couple of months ago," Sheriff Branham says. "This is 16.4 grams of meth. This was a big eye opener for us and our most serious offense to date. We have had no overdoes in the jail, but other counties have."

Whole Body Digital Security Imaging System utilizes a unique and patented blend of micro dose fan beam, slot scanning technology and large field of view imaging capabilities that will allow officers to identify external and internal contraband that is "hidden" on or in a subject. A single whole body image of a subject takes less than eight seconds.

Sheriff Branham asked to purchase the scanner during budget hearings, but the county council had to cut the purchase from 2017 Public Safety budget. Since then Sheriff Branham has found an offer he couldn't pass up.

He can purchase a body scanner from SecurPASS that was used for training.

The cost is $1,500 a month for 84 months. Sheriff Branham will make the monthly payment with a three year, $10,000 technology grant and once the grant funds are used up will pay the remaining balance with commissary funds.

County Attorney Dave Smith is reviewing the contract and warranty and it will be signed during the next commissioner's meeting. Sheriff Branham hopes to have the scanner installed by the end of October, beginning of November.

Commissioner Dave Flinn asked that once the body scanner was in place if inmates would be able to work on the community corrections road crews.

In the past, inmates were not allowed to participate in work release or road crew because of the fear of drugs and other items being smuggled into the jail.

"This will make it easier," Sheriff Branham added. "But there is still the issue or insurance costs. The county would be responsible for their medical cost if they twist an ankle or complain that their back hurts."

The county is responsible for a third of the medical cost if an inmate is not admitted to the hospital for more than 24 hours, when Medicaid will kick in and pay the hospital bill.

Another problems is the inmates don't want to participate in work release or road crew programs.

Another concern is the cost to hire officers to supervise the inmates.

"They don't want to go out an pickup trash," Branham added. "They would rather spend a day in jail then go out an work."

In other business:

Sheriff Branham reported there were 139 inmates in the jail, of those 26 are females, 9 Level 6 felonies and 2 Department of Correction holds.

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Highway Supervisor David Holmes says crews continue to to patch pot holes and mow.

Holmes will attend an Indiana Department of Transportation meeting on September 16 to learn about the Community Crossing Grant funds.

Holmes reported he had talked to INDOT deputy commissioner who reported the roundabout at the Avoca exit has been put on hold.

According to INDOT the last four years of data shows that there have not been as many accidents at the intersection and more data is needed before moving forward with the project.

"This suspension doesn't mean that the roundabout will never be constructed, but for now the decision to build the roundabout had been suspended," Holmes added.

Holmes reminds residents the Highway Department has nothing to do with the building of the roundabout and those that have concerns should contact INDOT.

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The county has hired RQAW to do an assessment of the former JayC Plus building at Dunn Plaza.

"The building has been empty since 2003," says Commissioner David Flinn. "They will be looking at what repairs need to be done to the building and how we can better utilize the building."

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The commissioners approved an agreement with Resource Services to bring LED retro lighting to the Courthouse, Courthouse Plaza and Dunn Plaza.

Once given the rebate by Duke Energy the county will spend around $4,480 to replace all the lighting in all three facilities.

"This should save us thousands on our electric bills," Flinn added.

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The commissioners passed an ordinance required by the State Board of Accounts to comply with new legislation for internal controls. Each employee will be required to attend training by March 1.

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Emergency Manager Valarie Luchauer will be reviewing and updating the county's emergency disaster plan.

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The commissioners renewed the appointment of Amanda May to the Bedford Public Library board.



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