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A new tool for safer, more compassionate searches

For Immediate Release: 24-Jun-2022 @ 9:30 AM
MRU #: 22R062

The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) has acquired a new piece of technology to improve safety in its Detainee Management Unit (DMU).

In 2016, DMU received approval to purchase this approximately $158,000 body scanner machine to improve the effectiveness of detainee searches. Put into use on May 10, 2022, the body scanner more accurately detects concealed contraband, including weapons and drugs that may have been missed during traditional searches.

“Not only are there many safety benefits for our employees, but those in our custody will be much safer if we can see and secure anything detainees have hidden, not to mention a reduction in the unfortunate, but sometimes necessary invasiveness of a strip search,” says EPS’ IMAC Branch Acting Inspector Jason Altmiks. “We’re pleased that we have this innovative way of providing an alternative search process for our detainees and our members.”

Enactment of an individual being scanned

Enactment of an individual being scanned #2

The new scanner has already proven its value, as within days of using it, DMU employees were able to detect several hidden items, including a large enough quantity of drugs that would have caused an overdose. “Thankfully, we could detect it and prevent the detainee or others from having that experience.”

The body scanner is primarily a harm reduction tool meant to reduce drug poisoning risk and will only be used as part of the intake process on adults after completion of their initial medical screening. Exceptions include detainees who are obviously impaired or otherwise physically incapable of standing still for the ten seconds required to complete the scan, and detainees with signs of cognitive impairment. These detainees may need to be physically searched in the traditional manner.

“This is the only body scanner in operation in a Canadian police facility,” A/Insp. Altmiks explains. “Because this is so new, we expect to learn, improve, and evolve our related procedures so we can provide the best and safest service to anyone who comes into DMU.”



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