MCSO’s Penzone expects scanner program at jails to be implemented within weeks

Jun 8, 2023, 11:00 AM

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said a scanner program that will detect for drugs and other contraband going in and out of jails will be up and running within weeks.

Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday that some staff has already been hired to man the machines, which are expected to arrive at jails soon.

The scanner detection will be another tool for an agency Penzone said is getting more proficient at curbing the flow of drugs.

“We’re seeing our seizures have gone up considerably and we’re doing a much better job of making sure that we kick over every stone to keep people getting drugs into our jails,” Penzone said.

The sheriff announced the formation of the program in January after a detention officer who had been working at the Lower Buckeye Jail was arrested for attempting to smuggle pills into the facility.

Penzone said at the time he was disgusted an employee would attempt an act like that.

He expects current employees to eventually be comfortable with the updated policies and that it’ll be on him to make sure that becomes a reality.

“What I don’t want to do is I don’t want to make it so it’s difficult for our employees to get to work and I don’t want to make it so they feel that it’s so intrusive that they’re not trusted and that this career isn’t for them, because that’s not the case,” Penzone said.

“So I think that we just have to as an organization … is reassure them the intentions and make sure that we’re facilitating their needs.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.

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MCSO’s Penzone expects scanner program at jails to be implemented within weeks