Hiding something? County jail’s body scanner promises to find it

New SOTER RS body scanner at the Darlington County Jail.

By Bobby Bryant, Editor


Bad news for anyone getting booked into the Darlington County jail: The detention center now has a full-body scanner whose manufacturer promises: “Within a matter of seconds, any hidden item imaginable will be revealed.” The device, known as a SOTER RS, has only been in use at the jail since about Nov. 11 and it’s already making a difference, says jail director Patricia Ray. The $150,000 machine, billed as “the world’s most advanced security X-ray system,” is not only helping officers spot contraband more easily, Ray says, it’s also spurring people getting booked into the jail to just admit what they’re hiding up front. Typically, Ray says, someone getting booked would get a “pat-down” search, but not a more extensive search unless there was a reason. Now that word of the new scanner system is getting around, Ray says, more people just don’t want to fight it. “They put everything on the ledger now,” Ray says. Sheriff Tony Chavis and Ray have been working to convince county government this machine was needed since 2019, Ray says. “It was already a hot (topic), finding something to stop contraband.” The SOTER RS is “like a little X-ray machine,” but its radiation is minimal and harmless, Ray says. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has certified the machine is safe. What can the machine spot? Anything, according to its manufacturer’s website. “It doesn’t have to be metal,” the website says. “All kinds of other material will also be detected, like organics, wood and plastics. The SOTER RS reveals it all by showing a clear difference between human tissue and other materials. This way, thanks to the SOTER RS’ eagle eye, no contraband (such as drugs, cellphones or weapons) will ever escape your attention. Even ingested or camouflaged items will be detected effortlessly.” Ray says the sheriff is pleased with how the scanner is working, and so is she. “It just brings a different feel to the booking area.”

Author: Stephan Drew

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