Racine County Jail using high-tech scanner to improve safety

NOW: Racine County Jail using high-tech scanner to improve safety

RACINE COUNTY (CBS 58) – Staff at the Racine County Jail now have a safe and more effective solution to catching prohibited items through a device called the SOTER RS.

The machine takes a scan and shows a clear contrast between human tissue and anything else that people may be trying to sneak in.

“Weapons, guns, you’d be surprised where people can hide things,” Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said.

A drug overdose at the jail prompted leaders to get two of the devices.

“Within minutes she removed a syringe loaded with heroin from a body cavity and injected herself with that and became a pulse-less non-breather,” Schmaling said.

The sheriff said the device is a lifesaving deterrent so people don’t try to bring in anything that could harm themselves or others.

"Just recently our scanner picked up on an individual who came into our facility and they had an Altoids breath mint container hidden in a lower personal area,” he said. “Inside the container we found crack cocaine.”

Each SOTER RS costs $118,000, but none of the money came from taxpayers.

“This facility like other facilities sells commissary, food, snacks, goodies for the inmates,” Schmaling said. “That comes at a cost and there is a profit to be made.”

Schmaling said he thinks the devices are invaluable because they keep officers and inmates safe.

“The bigger picture for me is that contraband is not in my jail and that no one is going to lose their life over it,” he said.

The SOTER RS has been in use since February and so far has scanned more than 7,000 people.

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