ARIZONA NEWS

MCSO’s Penzone believes employee scanning machines at jails will be ‘legacy moment’ for agency

Mar 2, 2023, 11:43 AM

Paul Penzone (MCSO Screenshot)...

Paul Penzone (MCSO Screenshot)

(MCSO Screenshot)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone is prepared for the installation of machines to detect drugs and other contraband on employees at jails to be a defining moment for the agency.

Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday that he hopes the new security process, expected to begin this summer, will change employees’ attitudes toward drugs in jails.

“This is a legacy moment, this defines who we are and what we stand for,” Penzone said.

“I hope that our employees, if they embrace it … we see a decline in overdoses and that our folks are more vigilant when we’re searching inmates.”

Penzone, a Democrat, announced that machines would be used for employees during a January press conference. He revealed at that media availability a detention officer was arrested for allegedly attempting to smuggle pills into the Lower Buckeye Jail.

Penzone expects some pushback on the plan, especially initially, but is confident it’ll be mostly accepted and followed.

“I believe that when you set a high standard and you expect your employees to show the world why we’re different than anywhere else, we are willing to do what’s inconvenient to prove our worth and to make sure that people are safe,” Penzone said.

“I think that’s more appealing.”

Drug smuggling needs to be cleaned up at Maricopa County’s five jails, Penzone said.

In 2022, there were 282 incident reports for narcotics in the jails and 158 incoming inmate postcards seized by the mailroom that tested positive for being soaked in fentanyl and/or methamphetamine, according to numbers Penzone shared during the January press conference.

“It is a strong statement that as an organization, we are going to be transparent and accountable and will do everything possible to make the environment safe,” Penzone said.

The seven scanners, which will be separate from what incoming inmates will go through, will collectively cost around $3 million, per Penzone.

Funding will come from cost savings already in the budget.

About 50 people will be hired to man the machines, a decision Penzone said was made so that current employees aren’t judging their peers.

“I don’t think it would be appropriate,” Penzone said. “I think it undermines the integrity of the process.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A California woman died Monday after falling down a 140-foot cliff while hiking in Sedona. (Coconin...

KTAR.com

California woman falls to her death down 140-foot cliff while hiking in Sedona

A California woman died Monday after falling down a 140-foot cliff while hiking in Sedona, authorities said.

6 minutes ago

(Phoenix Fire Department photo)...

Serena O'Sullivan

Small underground explosion blows out manhole covers in Phoenix

An explosion blew out two manhole covers in Phoenix on Tuesday morning, according to the Phoenix Fire Department.

51 minutes ago

Gabriel Garcia, 55, was arrested on April 13, 2024. (Tempe Police Photo0...

KTAR.com

Suspect arrested in Tempe hit-and-run that injured pedestrian

A suspect was arrested Saturday in a Tempe hit-and-run that injured a pedestrian earlier this month, authorities said.

2 hours ago

Goodyear lake crash kills wife: Husband indicted for murder...

Serena O'Sullivan

Man whose wife died after he drove into Goodyear lake indicted for murder

Anthony Joseph Maiorana, 35, was officially indicted with murder after his wife died in a Goodyear lake crash, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

3 hours ago

A view of the copper dome atop the Arizona Capitol. Arizona Republican lawmakers are considering a ...

Kevin Stone

Arizona Republican lawmakers consider ballot strategy to counter abortion rights initiative

Arizona Republican lawmakers are considering a ballot-flooding strategy to counter a voter initiative that would ensure abortion rights.

5 hours ago

Ukel Celbirio was arrested on Sunday, April 14, 2024, after fatally crashing into a vehicle, author...

KTAR.com

Man arrested for manslaughter after fatal crash on Phoenix freeway

A man who allegedly crashed his car into a vehicle parked on a Phoenix freeway over the weekend, killing the other driver, was arrested for manslaughter.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

MCSO’s Penzone believes employee scanning machines at jails will be ‘legacy moment’ for agency