Officer reprimanded for ODs

Inmate evaded scanner to bring drugs into jail

WARREN — An internal investigation showed two inmates overdosed earlier this month after a man being booked into the Trumbull County Jail carried the suspected opiate in.

Jail Administrator Dan Mason said a corrections officer who was in charge of booking Oct. 2 received a verbal reprimand.

The corrections officer did not keep his eye on the inmate, Mason said, as the man accused of bringing the drugs into the facility successfully evaded a new $118,000 full-body scanner.

“The officer did 98 percent of his job correctly in doing a full pat down of the subject, but the inmate managed to get two hits of the drug through,” Mason said, adding the size of the drug packaging was as small as a postage stamp.

Robert P. Click Jr., 35, and Timothy A. McGowan, 31, were treated at St. Joseph Warren Hospital after officers administered Narcan — an overdose reversal drug — to the two. Click and McGowan were not suspected of bringing the contraband into the jail, Mason said.

Mason said booking procedures require corrections officers to keep their eyes on the incoming inmates at all times, reading them for signs they are trying to deceive or hide anything. The officer is also responsible for noticing the sometimes subtle marks on the body scanned image.

“The scanner works like a piece of medical equipment, and we’ve had medical technicians look at our work,” Mason said as he added that corrections officers are still getting used to the new equipment. “The scanner has been picking up screws that have been put into bodies through medical procedures.”

Officers who were trained on the body scanners also have access to training programs on the device to study and learn how to read the images precisely, Mason said.

Mason reiterated the new scanner, which has been in use since mid-September, is helping reduce the amount of contraband coming in.

“We are seeing more inmates give things up before they go through the scanner,” Mason said.

Meanwhile, a separate criminal investigation into the Sept. 24 and Oct. 2 jail overdoses has been conducted by the Trumbull-Ashtabula Drug Task Force. However, commander Capt. Tony Villaneuva did not return a message seeking information on whether any criminal charges have been filed.

On Sept. 24, three inmates were given Narcan after they overdosed within an hour.

According to Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins, any inmate accused of drug activity on government property is usually prosecuted through a felony case presented directly to a grand jury.

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