Health concerns halt use of Hamilton Co. inmate scanner

HAMILTON COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department says they cannot use their $243 thousand inmate scanner because it gives off too much radiation.

Officials with Hamilton County say they initially bought the scanner to detect metal inside of the human body. The machine has been in use by the county for several months.

Officials state that the machine has been helpful detecting contraband inside the bodies of inmates as they entered prison.

"This machine is very valuable to us," explains Major Charmaine McGuffey. "When we were using it, we have found various items that people had hidden in their body cavities."

McGuffey says the machine has helped make Hamilton County Jail a safer place, keeping out numerous weapons and drugs.

However, following an inspection by the state officials, Hamilton County was ordered to stop using the machine. Officials state that the scanner is unsafe because it uses radiation.

The Sheriff's Office will need to file a variance to get the machine running again.

"We are the only county in the state of Ohio who has purchased this machine," says McGuffey. "Once we get this variance – once we are granted the rule change or whatever it is necessary to use it – we are going to be the model for the state of Ohio."

The health department has never granted a variance for a case involving radiation.

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