After inmate snuck in drugs, jail officials say scanner could prevent serious issues

PixleyColumbia County Sheriff's Office officials say the department is looking for funding for a new body scanner that could detect drugs and foreign objects hidden on jail inmates.

Lt. Brian Pixley with the Sheriff's Office briefed Columbia County commissioners on the effort during a weekly board of commissioners meeting Wednesday, April 4.

"The reason they're trying to identify funding sources is because it's going to cost about $100,000," Pixley said.

Pixley shared an anecdote from an incident in October at the jail when an inmate checked in to complete a jail sentence. The inmate managed to get into the jail with several prescription pills and narcotics hidden inside his body.

"He had an entire can of chewing tobacco, a book of matches, a glass container with several different pills," Pixley noted, adding "also a small bag of methamphetamine he was able to sneak into his body."

The lieutenant said jail deputies were alerted by the man's cell mate that he was exhibiting "strange behavior" and became incontinent. Deputies later discovered copious amounts of pills, along with the tobacco and drugs.

"If any of that were to have gotten in to the general population, it could have caused overdose deaths, it could have caused a whole litany of problems," Pixley noted.

He said a full body scanner could have detected the drugs and foreign objects.

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