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After leaving a check for $950,000 for the Lincoln Heights Community Center Wednesday, Congressman Don Davis presented Halifax County Sheriff Tyree Davis a $225,000 check for a detention center body scanner.

Congressman Davis made the presentation to the sheriff during a meeting of the Halifax County Intergovernmental Association held at Halifax Community College.

Sheriff Davis said the current process is when someone is arrested an officer searches them where they are detained. “Then they come into our jail and our detention staff strip searches them. They take them into a secured area, they have to get naked and they strip search them.”

A few months ago, the sheriff said, fentanyl got into the jail. “We had a young lady overdose. We had to do CPR on her to bring her back to life. We brought our canines in. They went through the jail searches. They hit on some items. We took those items out of the jail. Thirty minutes later we had another lady overdose (non-fatal) on fentanyl.”

At this point, Sheriff Davis said, “We do not have a body scanning machine. We contacted another sheriff in Edgecombe County.”

He said he told Edgecombe County Sheriff Cleveland Atkinson Jr. that there was a fentanyl problem in the women’s part of the Halifax County Detention Center and asked to take the women to the Edgecombe jail and run them through the body scanner. “As we were walking these women out one of our well alert detention staff members saw a young lady removing a package from her private area. Even though we strip search these inmates we can only go so far. People swallow, people tuck it — they’re just trying to get stuff in the jail.”

The sheriff said he expressed the need to the commissioners and the county management team. “They started looking for ways that we could  get a body scanner to keep this contraband out of our jail and that’s where Congressman Davis comes in.”

Sheriff Davis said the body scanner will make the detention staff safer “because we all know how deadly fentanyl is and other drugs and weapons. One jail found a firearm tucked inside somebody. If they can get into the jail they will.”

While the sheriff said people ask why the jail makes a big deal over cigarettes being smuggled into the detention center, he said, “You can sell it in our jail for $20. Think of a pack of cigarettes and you open a pack and sell each one for $20. We’re trying to catch all the contraband and we charge them with possession of cigarettes in our jail.”

The sheriff said, even with cigarettes, “Somebody can get rich, somebody can get beat up, somebody can get killed back there over a cigarette so we have to keep these items out of our jail.”

Many of these items, he said, can’t be found from a strip search. “But we can find them with a body scanner. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to get it. I thank our county management team, our county commissioners and our congressman for making this happen.”

Congressman Davis said to the sheriff, “It’s a small presentation but I think it gives you what you need.”

Said the sheriff: “This will help keep our inmates and our staff safe and I appreciate it.”