New technology leads to big contraband bust for Oklahoma DOC

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OKLAHOMA — The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has obtained a new piece of technology to help search inmates.

The Cellsense tower is used to detect cell phones, weapons and other illicit materials an offender may have hidden on their body, according to a press released from DOC.

The device is reportedly 7 ft. tall and takes less than 60 seconds to set up. Officials say it takes a full body scan of inmates who walk past, allowing for more inmates to be searched in less time.

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They also have deep-tissue scanners that are reportedly hand-held and  used to detect objects not immediately found on an offender after a pat-down search.

“The towers are more effective than a metal detector you would see at an airport,” said Special Assistant Lance Hetmer, who has helped introduce the new technology and overhaul the DOC K-9 program. “It will even alert to a cell phone or weapon hidden inside an offender. The new technologies we are able to implement while doing a shakedown is going a long way to curtail our contraband problem within state facilities.”

Every facility in the state is said to have a Cellsense tower by February 2016.

“Contraband is an issue both inside a facility and outside,” said Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh. “Inmates who have access to a phone can continue to run their criminal enterprises on the street or intimidate a victim.”

On Tuesday, Jan. 12 members of the DOC Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) performed a four-hour contraband search at the minimum and medium security housing units at the DCCC using the new equipment.

The following contraband items were confiscated:

  • 22 cell phone chargers
  • 20 stabbing weapons (shanks)
  • 19 cell phones
  • 10 homemade drug pipes
  • Six lighters
  • Four screwdrivers
  • 3.5 grams of narcotics
  • 3.5 ounces of smoking tobacco
  • Two unidentified pills
  • Tattoo gun
  • One can of chewing tobacco

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