Contraband a constant concern
Contraband. Often times the word brings images of shanks, razor blades and riots. And although those are encompassed in the word, officials with the Dougherty County Jail say it can include a lot more.
"Anything that an inmate has altered, to change its original state, is considered contraband," said Captain Allen Brock.
From picture frames made out of lunch bags, to wash brushes built out of toothbrush heads, contraband can be almost anything. But the real threat to inmates and officers is homemade weapons.
"Inmates use weapons as a form of intimidation. You have a younger inmate who's nervous coming to jail, or an older inmate who's frail--he or she feels they need to protect themselves against other inmates by having a weapon system," said Captain Brock.
With each inmate posing a potential threat training is the first step in preventing a sticky situation.
"We teach officers pressure point techniques, take down techniques, strikes, kicks, blows, punches, these can be used offensively--but in a contraband situation it's all defensive," said Sergeant Mark Farley.
Dougherty County Jail training officers also hone in on specific situations, such as inmate with a shank.
"Situations where they have a shank, they need to realize that they're probably going to get cut. But they have to also have that mentality that they're going to live through that, they're going to win that fight," said Sergeant Farley.
The second step to preventing a stand-off with an inmate is searches, something the staff takes very seriously.
"On average we search every cell in this building every week. Every shift that works, they'll search 7 to 10 cells per shift--and if you do that math we'll search every cell," said Captain Brock.
Searching and training both contribute to keeping the jail safe and secure, and since the move into the new facility Lieutenant Allan Brock says incidents with weapons have dropped dramatically.....but one thing is for sure.
"The war on contraband is never over. We may win the battle, but we'll never win the war," said Captain Brock.