New body scanners installed at St. Clair County Jail

ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. - St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson tests out the new SecurePass machine.

“The sheriff here has replacement knees. You’re going to see that. You see his bracelet, belt buckles, necklace. If they even have fillings or anything like that in their teeth, that’ll show up on the scan," said Corrections Officer Scott Sheldon.

The sheriff says the incredible detail exposes items that might be missed during a strip search and it pinpoints it in a way that a metal detector can't.

“Any kind of metal, if you swallowed fentynal or drugs, or something’s in your system, it’s going to show those bags that they try to sneak in the jail all the time," says Sheriff Watson.

He says the scanner will cut back on the need for strip searches and possible misconduct lawsuits that can come with them.

Since St. Clair County Jail is only the second department in Illinois to have this machine other local law enforcement agencies are taking advantage of it.

“There’s many departments that maybe don’t have a female working at night they really can’t do pat downs and searches of females so they can bring them in here and we will run them through the body scanner and we’ve already had two or three agencies that have brought people in. Also, the DEA is bringing people in here now to utilize our body scanner," he explains.

And it's not just for inmates. Staff, packages, and even mattresses will be sent through looking for any contraband. The sheriff says they've only had the machine three weeks and found something on the very first day.

"I’m gonna tell you these needles that we found inside this book I could’ve given you the book and you never found them because we have this detector pick them right up," he says.

The scan only takes eight seconds to perform and the sheriff says anyone that goes into the jail will have to go through it.