Attention to Detail

Scott Nicholas
Vice President

As most of you have learned or will find out in the future, attention to detail will keep you from getting an invitation to an involuntary tour of IAB. 

I’m going to focus on the jail side of this warning because the cameras never stop recording from the minute you pull into the garage or sally port until the last second the cameras record you driving away from CCDC. 

There is no way to tell how many hours a week labor relations, IAB, CIRT or your chain of command spend watching video because someone complained about something you did or didn’t do, investigating everything from lost property, a 405, sexual assault or a simple pat search resulting in something entering the facility.  

Complaints are always investigated with video review from the street and in the jail. One example might be a more common one. An arrestee comes into CCDC to be booked. The PO will be scrutinized from the minute they drive up First Street entering the sally port. Then they will be watched on how the inmate was removed from the vehicle, what the inmate was wearing, how you escorted the inmate from the vehicle to the chairs in the sally port, how the property was delivered to the COs, what property was removed from the suspect and, of course, the entire pat search of the suspect.

The pat searches will be where they will start to find the most fault if it is not completed in a systematic and thorough manner. Nothing less than a textbook search will keep you out of trouble. This includes a thorough check with the handheld metal detector (aka, the magic wand).   

Now, for the CO who just took over the follow-up pat search and likely watched your thorough pat search, they now need to be equally as systematic and thorough, up to and including use of the magic wand or handheld metal detector. There will be no leniency if the person reviewing these pat searches does not witness a full and thorough pat search of each quadrant of the suspect, including turning pockets inside out and, of course, checking the groin area thoroughly by hand and with the metal detector.

With all of that completed and the personal property turned over to the COs in a clearly marked bag, the next and last pat search takes place inside CCDC. This pat search by a CO will take place next to the intake nurses’ station in the pre-arrest area of booking. Now, inside the secured area of booking, the final search is completed and the handcuffs (real handcuffs) are removed, and the belly chains are placed on the inmate. This pat search will be the same as all the other previous searches — from top to bottom, systematically checking each quadrant thoroughly for contraband and utilizing the magic wand. Any additional clothing exchanges will also be completed at this time behind the magic curtain that is located next to the Intoxilyzer 8000. 

Once these steps have all been completed, it’s time to find out if you all passed the pat-search test and will not earn a trip to IAB. The CO takes the inmate over to the X-ray machine to get a look underneath the inmate’s clothing and is not limited to inside the inmate’s anus and vagina (or both). Everything from drugs, knives, guns and jewelry were hidden in these secret jail compartments and were never detected by the four or five officers who have already searched the inmate or the magic wand. 

I’ve written about this machine being inside of booking only to be used as a tool against the officers instead of supporting their role and making the secure area truly secure by having this machine outside where the inmate is secured in real handcuffs and poses a far less threat to the facility and to the staff. But apparently, the chain of command at CCDC is either too lazy to fight for a suitable place to be designed outside of the secured area, or maybe they just like the way things are because they have become complacent in their jobs and like to see our officers get jammed up. Or maybe they are just too afraid of the county commission to ask for some funding to make our facility the safest jail in America? 

I’ll give the current chief a pass on this for now because he took over a mess left behind by the previous chief, who was more useless than anyone before him holding that title/rank and did nothing to address this serious safety issue while he had the chance. 

I know I’m getting sidetracked and pissed off, but my point is to make sure everything you do in your work day is done with attention to detail and remind yourself that everything you do is being recorded and has the potential for review at some point. 

It’s not an easy job no matter where you are working, and we know that, but some of the reviewers have never done your job and find it easy to watch tape and pick apart every detail. Monday morning quarterbacks are still working for Metro and probably always will. 

Stay safe, happy new year and, as always, thank you for your membership.