$150,000 grant brings full body scanner to Marquette County jail

An Intercept Tek84 scanner used for high-security contraband detection is now operating at the Marquette County jail. It was purchased with a Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Law Enforcement $150,000 grant awarded to the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office. The money comes from the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Grant Program available from the U.S. Department of Justice. The application for the grant was initiated by Sheriff Joseph Konrath and researched and assembled by Deputy Brittany Beahm. The Intercept Tek84 is a whole-body thermal scanner that also reads body temperature. The application read, “To continue our effort for the safety and security of our correctional officers and inmates from the contagious disease (COVID-19), incorporating a Whole-Body Thermal Security Scanner will greatly improve the initial screening of newly incarcerated inmates for the detection of COVID-19. If the inmate body temperature is higher than normal the inmate can be placed in medical isolation pending the results of a COVID-19 test.” The application described the need for the scanner as, “The Marquette County Sheriff’s Office is the only 24/7 law enforcement agency in Marquette County. The Marquette County jail is the only Department of Corrections approved correctional facility in Marquette County. The level of calls for service and subjects getting arrested for criminal violations has increased the risk of the COVID-19 virus spreading and affecting the correctional staff and inmates incarcerated in the jail. The Jail population has increased substantially since a year ago when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit. The court opening more and more for in-person hearings has increased the risk of the COVID-19 virus spreading as defendants are getting sentenced to serve time in the Marquette County Jail. For the first time in a year, the Marquette County Circuit Court had five jury trials scheduled in May. The criminal justice system is busier and having a Whole-Body Security Thermal Scanner in the jail for the initial assessment of COVID-19 will no doubt help with the detection of COVID-19 and stop the possibility of the virus spreading throughout the jail affecting the correctional staff and inmates.” The total cost of the scanner with the whole-body temperature screening was $169,000. The County Board approved the additional $19,000 to be paid from the Sheriff’s Department budget. The Intercept Tek84 provides a four second body scan with an on-screen photo of the body. A photo is taken of the person as he/she stands within the body scanner. There is no image distortion and object appear in the image in the same location as on or in the body. The machine needs no warmup and is ready at a moment’s notice. According to the company, the Tek84 is, “The only American-made body scanner that detects both metallic and nonmetallic threats, including weapons, drugs, cell phones and other contraband. Screens from below the feet to above the head revealing items under the clothing and within the body.” The company developed the world’s first body scanner in 1991 and the first drive-through car bomb detection portal in 2009. Tek84 Field Applications Trainer Bret Bruce was at the Sheriff’s Office last week to provide training on the equipment to its staff. Brett has been an X-Ray Technician for 25 years specializing in vascular X-Ray and clinical application. He explained how the scanner works and the low dose of radiation that the machine uses. The radiation from the full body scan is equal to the radiation you receive from eating one banana. Everything around us, he explained, gives off radiation and the development of low radiation scans has improved greatly over the years. According to information provided by the scanner company, the Tek84 scanner beam passes through the body in a straight line unlike other scanners that pass through on an angle. This has a “critical effect on image quality and dose.” The added body thickness of using an angle beam is reduced by a factor of 30 by using a straight on beam. The only people who should not be scanned are pregnant women and people with an insulin pump. The scan is safe for those with pacemakers and other implants. The scan will reveal contraband carried by an inmate including weapons, drugs, and other items. This includes items carried in body cavities. “We are very pleased to have received the grant to purchase this scanner,” said Sheriff Konrath. “Columbia, Green Lake and Waushara counties have had scanners, and now Marquette County also has the capability to do full body scans and temperature screenings.”