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Public Safety

Sheriff's review board to discuss body scans of staff entering jail

A San Diego County Sheriff's vehicle is parked outside of the Vista Detention Facility on Dec. 1, 2023.
Jacob Aere
A San Diego County Sheriff's vehicle is parked outside of the Vista Detention Facility on Dec. 1, 2023.

A San Diego County law enforcement review board has recommended the San Diego County Sheriff's Department conduct body scans of all staff entering county jails to help prevent drug deaths and overdoses, but the sheriff's department has rejected the proposal.

The board announced Tuesday it will discuss the issue at its Feb. 13 meeting, according to Paul Parker, executive director of the board, known as the San Diego County Citizens' Law Enforcement Review Board.

The Sheriff's department has twice rejected the recommendations, most recently in December, Parker said. Sheriff's officials said they have reduced drugs getting into jails to "almost zero" through increased actions, including searches, investigations, intelligence and drug-detecting dogs.


Board officials say they were grateful for those actions and a 35% reduction in the number of in-custody deaths from 2022 to 2023.

"However, they said there were still 146 suspected overdoses in county detention facilities in 2023 and our goal must be zero overdoses," Parker said.

The board "continues to be disappointed that body scanning of staff is not occurring," said Parker. We "were hopeful that, at a minimum, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department would implement random body scanning of all staff."

The review board was created by San Diego County voters in 1990 to provide independent investigation and oversight of the County's Sheriff's and Probation departments. Part of its authority includes oversight of all county jails in the unincorporated areas and in the nine cities that use the Sheriff's Department to provide law enforcement.

The board meets publicly once a month in room 302 of the San Diego County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Highway. People can attend the board's meetings virtually via Zoom. The Feb. 13 meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. People can submit questions ahead of meetings.

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