Local sheriff's departments look to new technology for drug screening

After 35 officers from the Allen County Jail accidentally overdosed in November, surrounding counties started looking for different ways to screen for drugs in mail.

Posted: Jan 17, 2018 11:08 PM
Updated: Jan 18, 2018 8:56 AM

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WFFT)- After 35 people from the Allen County Jail were sent to the hospital in November from Fentanyl exposure, surounding counties are looking for different ways to keep something like that from happening again.

"They're getting drugs in in so many different ways. We're looking into body scanners," said Jeff Campos, LaGrange County Sheriff.

Now, a company out of Pennsylvania believes they have a solution to drugs coming in through the mail. ChemImage proposed the VeroVision mail screener. The machine is a one-click system that allows the operator to scan mail within seconds.

The company said it's all about keeping inmates and officers safe.

"We see the opioid epidemic as a major issue. It's something that's stricken through the U.S. Like I said in the beginning, it's not necessarily subject only to facilities like this, but it's subject to everyone," said Peter Safran of ChemImage.

Right now officers are concerned about drugs like Heroin, Fentanyl, and Carfentanil, which is believed to be 100 times as potent as Fentanyl.

"We've also had drugs introduced into our facility through the mail. Some have been caught. There was a case that wasn't, which is a pending court case now, but we need to stop it," said Marc Gatton, Whitley County Sheriff.

Even coming into contact with drugs like this through accidental touch or in the air could be deadly.

Officers who tested the new technology said it could change everything.

"LaGrange County, we're like family. So for me, that's why I'm here," Campos said.

The departments that spoke with WFFT Wednesday said the VeroVision is something they're looking into, but they haven't made any decisions yet on purchasing it.

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