Starting next year, it will be much tougher for inmates to smuggle drugs or other contraband into the Warren County Regional Jail.

Warren Fiscal Court on Friday accepted a bid negotiated by Jailer Stephen Harmon to buy both a stationary and a portable body scanner from Hopkinsville-based Romaine Companies – purchases that Harmon said are critical in heading off a growing problem.

“This is huge for us,” Harmon said. “In 2018, we had about 200 cases of drugs or weapons being brought into the facility. Inmates will swallow drugs or hide them on their bodies.

“That can lead to multiple people sharing the drugs and can lead to possible overdoses. This project will allow us to better detect things on the front end of the booking process.”

The purchase of a stationary scanner staged outside the jail’s booking area and a portable device for scanning mattresses, books and other small items will cost $196,000. Harmon said the cost will be covered by the jail’s canteen fund, which comes from money raised from sales at the jail commissary and the sale of phone cards.

“Legislation passed last year allows canteen funds to be used to pay for safety and security projects,” Harmon explained.

Harmon said the scanners will help the jail staff as well as the law enforcement agencies making the arrests.

The jailer also got approval Friday for his proposal to contract with Blackshear, Ga.-based Diversified Correctional Services to do a Prison Rape Elimination Act inspection at the jail. The cost of $4,800 will be paid through canteen funds.

The inspection is required by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and must be conducted every three years.

Magistrates also approved Friday the transfer of four vehicles – a 2001 Dodge Ram, a 2008 Ford F250 and two 2007 Chevrolet Express vans – from the jail to the county parks and recreation department. Also approved was the transfer of a 2017 Ford F250 from the county Public Works Department to the jail.

Also Friday, the magistrates approved spending $4,418.45 to Straeffer Pump to replace the sewer pump at Ephram White Park that was damaged by a lightning strike.

In other items:

  • Magistrates approved the lease of two 2020 Toyota 4Runner vehicles from Enterprise Fleet Management for the public works department.
  • The Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force was approved to spend $3,700 for renewal of a software upgrade and support agreement with CelleBrite USA. This purchase is paid for from the task force’s forfeiture account.
  • Magistrates approved spending $1,419.94 to Wright Implement for repairs to a mowing tractor used by the county road department.
  • Magistrates approved on first reading the rezoning of a 0.7-acre tract at Mt. Lebanon and Alvaton roads from agriculture to general business. Bipin Patel, who developed the AM Express store on Three Springs Road, is looking to put a BP gas station and a store he’s calling Alvaton Market on the property.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

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