ST. CHARLES, Ill. (CBS) — An inmate at the Kane County Jail tried to smuggle a chunk of metal from a broom handle, and it could have been a weapon to attack guards.
But as CBS 2’s Lauren Victory reported, new technology is in action to detect such items before they pose a danger.
Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain described a recent sweep inside his jail. Cells were turned upside-down in the F block, where inmates with disciplinary issues stay.
“Our corrections officers located one sandal that bent like that,” Hain explained as he bent the heel backward, “and the next one on the other foot only bent” with the heel moving slightly forward.
That was because a sharp metal shiv was hiding inside. Officers said Azriel Lashbrook attacked guards at his last detention center.
“When we did the cell shakedown, we actually found a hit list with officers’ name on it,” Hain said. “Most likely, he would’ve used it against one of our officers.”
But that five-inch weapon didn’t stand a chance against the jail’s new line of defense.
“I think it was a reaction of confidence,” Hain said.
A souped-up body scanner detects drugs, weapons, and other prohibited items. An inmate volunteered to carry contraband to demonstrate how it worked. He stood before the Intercept body scanner while Victory and Kane County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Charlie Conklin examined a screen.
“On his left hip, there’s the image of the pen, and if you zoom in on his right hip, you can see the image of the paper clip,” Conklin said.
“The huge benefit to having the body scanner here is that it’s more humanizing, and it’s a much less intrusive search that everybody can pass through as they come into our facility,” Hain said.
Before, some people who were arrested got to skip strip searches, because they were charged with crimes that did not allow full-blown pat-downs.
“We had four instances of heroin, including fentanyl, within the facility,” Hain said. “That was the primary driver to say enough is enough.”
Commissary revenues helped pay for the $149,000 machine. It went live a few weeks ago.
“To this point, we have not caught any contraband entering the facility, but we know that it will pay big dividends in the long run,” Hain said. ”We know it works.”
That brings us back to the shank in the shoe.
“(He) smashed it down to where it was flat,” Conklin said.
Officers discovered the weapon was made out of a type of broom handle that has now been removed from all parts of the jail.
The sheriff said the fancy new machine is saving money because if officers are suspicious about the items hidden in jail property, they no longer have to cut it open and destroy it.