The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

June 24, 2010

Correctional facility uses donated airport scanners to detect drugs

ANDERSON – The Pendleton Correctional Facility has found a new way to sniff out illegal contraband: with donated machines worth millions of dollars.

“You didn’t see the lines of dogs out front with picket signs?” jokingly asked Mike Rains, chief Internal Affairs officer for the Pendleton facility.

Since the Pendleton facility became the first Indiana prison to use Sentinel II Ionscan Contraband Detection Portals — commonly seen in airports — in February, it has had only one incident of intended drug-smuggling.

“We’ve had people come in, see the machine running, and they turn around and leave,” Rains said.

Like a few other prisons in the nation, Pendleton Correctional Facility had tried the machines a few years ago and wanted them since. But the price tag was too high, at nearly $140,000 per machine.

Rains said an officer going on vacation came up with the idea to obtain the machines for free. He said a Transportation Security Administration agent informed the vacationer that the machines were being phased out of airports for newer equipment. After some phone calls, TSA donated seven machines, worth nearly $1 million, to the Indiana Department of Corrections.

“In my opinion, it’s a very good application for the machine; they have been in prison in other countries and been very effective,” said Rick Keosian, products specialist with manufacturer Smiths Detection, who had been working with the facility.

The machines were used in the airports to detect explosives, but the one at the prison has been reprogrammed to detect narcotics, according to Rains. The other six machines are in the process of being reprogrammed, and the IDOC hopes to have them in prisons around the state by July, Rains said.

“What we want it to do is cut down on our incidents of trafficking,” Rains said.

In addition to the normal patdowns and shoe X-rays, the machines analyze microscopic particles from a visitor’s clothes and skin.

The visitor enters the machine, which takes three pictures during the process for evidence — if necessary. It shoots 32 quick jets of air at the person standing inside, sucking back particles that are then analyzed for illegal substances.

“That’s remarkable,” said visitor Janice Talley, after passing through the machine. “I’m surprised that Anderson, a small town, would have something like this.”

If a visitor fails the inspection, an alarm sounds and he or she is retested. After a second bell, the visitor is interviewed, Rains said, to give the person an opportunity to own up to being around drugs.

According to facility spokesman Neil Potter, the Pendleton prison arrested 10 people in 2009 for attempting to smuggle drugs into the facility. The one woman caught since the machine went operational happened the same week.

“They’re not costing us any money, other than for electricity,” Rains said. “If we get a substance individual to our area, we can reprogram it for that; it takes about an hour.”

As for the narcotics-detecting dogs that used to be alarm personnel of potential smugglers, they’re not completely out of work, Rains said.

“We’re going to use them inside,” he said, “for cell searches and things like that.”

Contact Christina M. Wright, 640-4883,

Text Only
Local News
  • NWS - HB0725 - Colts Camp - 272 Colts fans come from all over Indiana for training camp

    Under bright skies and mild temperatures, Indianapolis Colts fans turned out in droves to witness the first of this year's public practices during training camp at Anderson University's campus on Thursday.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • South Madison superintendent contract OK'd South Madison Community Schools officials Thursday unanimously ratified a new three-year contract for Superintendent Joe Buck, and approved textbook fees for middle and high school students.

    July 24, 2014

  • Brown awarded $25,200 settlement A federal jury issued a split verdict in the discrimination case filed by Jack Brown against the city of Anderson that alleged violations of his free speech rights and the American Disabilities Act.

    July 24, 2014

  • DSC_8125.JPG Auction teaches in business, farming

    After 10 years of 4-H, saying goodbye to his animals has become a simple matter for McKennon Heald. But he said he wouldn't be surprised to see some tears from some of the younger participants. He's been there.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Anderson, Alexandria and Elwood receive grants to tear down abandoned houses Three Madison County cities — Anderson, Alexandria and Elwood — received state grants that will be used to tear down abandoned, dilapidated houses.

    July 25, 2014

  • Arrest Log: July 25 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Wednesday and Thursday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 25, 2014

  • What's Where: July 25 Local meetings and activities are scheduled Friday, July 25.

    July 25, 2014

  • Support breakfast at Cross Roads Through The Eyes of Special Kids will host its support breakfast from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Cross Roads United Methodist Church, 2000 N. Scatterfield Road.

    July 24, 2014

  • Accident.jpg Second person dies following Ind. 9 accident

    A second person has died from injuries following an accident Wednesday on Ind. 9. Clayton Crumley, 21, died at IU Health Methodist Hospital, officials said Thursday.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arrest Log: July 24 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 24, 2014

July Staff Photos

Buy and browse more photos from The Herald Bulletin

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Auto Industry Book
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide