August 24, 2015 -
Mercer County Sheriff’s Department in Ohio is investing in eye scanner that detects drug abuse, which should help save the department $70,000 a year, according to a report by Corrections One.
Quest Guard’s PassPoint System lowers the use for urine tests, reduces staff time and could potentially eliminate the need to hire an additional correctional officer.
The machine uses biometrics – a fingerprint – to confirm identity before the test is conducted.
The system scans both the individual’s eyes in about 17 seconds and prints out a receipt specifying a positive or negative result, which is immediately emailed to the court probation officer.
If the machine detects a positive result, the administrator will be prompted to conduct a urine test on the individual to further confirm the reading.
The system’s self-test procedure only requires an officer to be present for the initial set-up and scan.
County commissioners approved a one-year lease at $1,900 a month for the scanner, which will be paid with funds from a 0.5 percent sales tax collected for the jail.
The local Tri-County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services agency will pay the initial $5,000 for the system.
Last year, the department spent $43,000 in urine test kits, with each kit requiring an officer, said County Sheriff Jeff Grey.
The PassPoint system allows the department to run as many tests as it wants for a monthly fee that includes system updates and maintenance, said Grey.
The sheriff’s department will mainly use the scanner for people with substance abuse issues who are enrolled in the county’s drug court program, which requires participants to undergo periodic urine tests and achieve clean results.
If the department is not completely satisfied with the machine, they will have the option of cancelling the lease after the first year.