Body scanners installed, more K9s coming to Phoenix jails as contraband remains an issue

Aug 3, 2023, 10:07 AM | Updated: 10:19 am

officer and a K9 walking inside a Phoenix jail...

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

PHOENIX — The installation of body scanners at Phoenix jails is complete and drug-detections dogs are on the way as law enforcement looks for more ways to deter contraband.

With the smuggling of drugs overwhelming facilities, the new jailhouse body scanners will review all employees and volunteers prior to beginning their day.

“They are all in the jails now, they are all installed and they are all functional,” Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said during a press conference on Wednesday.

“The step that we’re in right now is we hired employees who are going to be specifically responsible for managing the scanners.”

Penzone said a group of 10-12 employees are going through a training academy and are projected to enter the field on Monday.

“Although we have the equipment at each jail, we’re going to start going jail-by-jail on staffing to get to make sure we can work out any challenges and kinks. We want to be as fluid as possible getting our employees into the workspace, not held up in the scanner space,” he said.

What other efforts are being made to lower the amount of contraband entering jails?

Penzone said the sheriff’s office is in the final stages of acquiring four new drug-detection dogs, which will only be used to recover drugs from the jail cells. The four canines won’t be used to search inmates when they are being booked.

“They’re just going to be specifically trained to recover drugs in the jails. Right now, we have selected our canine handlers and they are going through their training. We have all the equipment for it,” Penzone said.

The sheriff said he hopes to have the canine unit fully functional by mid- to late-October.

Here’s an update on drugs entering Phoenix jails in 2023

“From March until July, we have seized over 1,000 fentanyl pills, 32 individuals have been charged with 63 additional felony charges, and we still have a lot of cases under review,” Penzone said.

Over 200 inmates have been hospitalized due to overdoses, with the medical examiner ruling eight as drug-related deaths.

There has also been an increase in the amount of administered Narcan, which is a medicine that can quickly reverse an opioid overdose.

More than 396 doses of Narcan have been administered this year, more than double the 172 doses administered in 2022.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

(Photo by Matthew Baker/Getty Images)...

Bruce Springsteen postpones rest of 2023 tour, including Phoenix date, due to health issues

Bruce Springsteen has postponed the rest of his 2023 tour dates, including one in Phoenix, to continue recovery from peptic ulcer disease.

30 minutes ago

(Pexels Photo)...

Gilbert opens animal cruelty investigation after dogs found needing medical care

An animal cruelty investigation is underway after dogs needing medical care were found at a Gilbert residence, authorities said Wednesday.

2 hours ago

A potentially new jaguar was photographed in southern Arizona twice earlier this year. The photogra...

Danny Shapiro

Say cheese: Rare jaguar sighting caught on camera in southern Arizona mountain range

Trail cameras have captured two rare photos of a wild jaguar in a southern Arizona mountain range earlier this year.

3 hours ago

Google Street View image of Apollo High School in Glendale, Arizona. A crash spilled onto the schoo...

Police say driver was going 80 mph in 25 mph zone before fatal crash outside Glendale school

A driver in a fatal crash that spilled into a West Valley high school Tuesday was going 55 mph above the speed limit and ran a red light, authorities said.

3 hours ago

(Bissell Pet Foundation photos)...

Valley kennels taking part in ‘Empty the Shelters’ adoption discount event

Several Valley and state shelters will participate in a national reduced-fee pet adoption event in October.

5 hours ago

From left, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Vice ...

Associated Press

Republican hopefuls face growing urgency to stop Donald Trump entering 2nd debate

Republicans are meeting for their second presidential debate on Wednesday as Donald Trump's top rivals seek to blunt the momentum of the former president.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Sanderson Ford...

Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford congratulates D-backs’ on drive to great first half of 2023

The Arizona Diamondbacks just completed a red-hot first half of the major league season, and Sanderson Ford wants to send its congratulations to the ballclub.



At Ability360, every day is Independence Day

With 100 different programs and services, more than 1,500 non-medically based home care staff, a world-renowned Sports & Fitness Center and over 15,000 people with disabilities served annually, across all ages and demographics, Ability360 is a nationwide leader in the disability community.


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

Body scanners installed, more K9s coming to Phoenix jails as contraband remains an issue