Sheriff to ask board for imager

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Two years ago, the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department was selected by the National Institute of Justice to test a body imager that used radio wave technology to detect items concealed under clothing.

Sheriff Butch Conway liked the machine so much that he'll ask the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners today to approve the purchase of a whole body imager, said Stacey Bourbonnais, spokeswoman for the department.

The Sheriff's Department had "a great deal of success" with the body imager, which served as an extra layer of security, Bourbonnais said. The body scans were used as a supplement to pat-down searches during the 90-day testing period.

The $178,468 for the machine will be funded by seized drug money, Bourbonnais said.

"It's not costing the taxpayers anything," she said. "The money would not be coming out of the general fund."

The body imager, which is similar to one used by airports, will be used exclusively to screen inmates at the Gwinnett County Detention Center in Lawrenceville, Bourbonnais said. Visitors to the jail would not be scanned by the machine.

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners meets today at 10 a.m. for a work session and 2 p.m. for its business meeting.