Clermont County Jail's new body scanner keeps out inmates' drugs, contraband

Device even found stolen ring in inmate's stomach

BATAVIA, Ohio -- It's unfortunately not rare for prisoners to smuggle drugs behind bars, but Clermont County Jail now has a high-tech tool to prevent this from happening.

Sheriff Robert Leahy pushed to get the jailhouse's first body scanner installed about four months ago at no cost to the county, and so far deputies say it has been well worth the $187,000 price tag in commissary funds.

In that time period, the scanner has detected all sorts of contraband that inmates have tried to smuggle in that standard pat-downs or strip searches wouldn't find, including a lighter hidden in a bra and vials of heroin.

They even discovered a stolen diamond ring that a burglary suspect couldn't hide from those X-ray eyes. Capt. Mike McConnell said the suspect swallowed it in an attempt to hide the evidence before he was booked.

"I mean we were obviously caught off guard, but it just goes to show the extremes that individuals will go to to hide just to get things into the facility," McConnell said.

McConnell said the body scanner has led to a safer environment with reduced drug overdoses and that it has served as a first step toward recovery for many inmates.

"It's a huge problem -- a huge problem with every agency in the state. You see it all the time. The threat with overdoses in custody deaths is a big concern," McConnell said.

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