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MARQUETTE COUNTY– When person is arrested, law enforcement pats the person down see if they have anything on them before putting them in jail. Sometimes people hide those contrabands inside their body, making it difficult to find.
“That people have carried in their mouth, in different body cavities and swallowed stuff,” said Sheriff Greg Zyburt, Marquette County Sheriff’s Office.
The Marquette County Sheriff’s Office recently purchased a hands free body scanning machine called the SOTER to add as an addition when searching inmates. They’re the second county in the state to implement this.
“The main purpose for this is safety,” said Zyburt. “It’s for the safety of the correctional officers. It’s safety for the inmates.”
Prior to this, the sheriff’s office says they’ve had about 30 incidences where people were hiding things in their mouths or in other parts of their body.
“Drugs into the jail and then they’re sharing them with other inmates,” said Zyburt. “We had one inmate that was overdosing. Luckily we got them to the hospital. So, we’re trying to stop the usage of drugs and potential weapons coming into the jail.”
The scan takes a matter of seconds and then officers can look at the image on the scanners monitor or on an ipad.
“It’s basically an x-ray of the body and look for anything unusual,” said Zyburt. “We’ve had and we’re going through a learning curve right now of teaching. They’ve each had two or three hours of training, specifically what to look for and SOTER has given us a lot of images to look at of potential places where they hide and maybe they’re swallowing a balloon with heroin and what it looks like.”
Zyburt says once a person is arrested they’ll be asked if they have anything on them. If the person does and tell the truth, it’s a misdemeanor. If the person does and does not tell the truth, it’s a felony of up to five years.