Sedgwick County Jail seizes 'dangerous items' in full facility search

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

The Sedgwick County Jail is seeing an increase in what officers call "dangerous contraband," but the increase is not as high as officers had worried.

More than a hundred Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office employees searched the entire jail Thursday night and found a few improvised weapons, or "shanks." The search took about five hours and involved 1,164 inmates, and the Sheriff's Office said all but seven of those inmates cooperated with the searchers.

"Inmates also appreciate the fact that we did this," said Col. Brian White. "They want to know they're safe in this facility as well."

In all, searchers found three shanks and one object in the process of being fashioned into a shank. The Sheriff's Office said, even though they found just those four items, the search was still worth all the time and work.

"Even if you just found one shank, you're gonna make people feel better," said Lt. Tim Myers. "Because that one shank could cause danger to an inmate or to a staff member."

The sheriff's office said that improvised weapons or shanks can be found in almost any correctional facility, since an object as simple as a pair of glasses can be broken and used as a weapon.

"A weapon is typically fashioned out of materials such as door strike plates or, as mentioned earlier, outlet covers," Col. White said. He said keeping screws tight can help staff keep weapons from being crafted.

"We're looking at ways for in the future of how to address these, like with the metal outlet covers," Col. White said. "Is there some other material that's being made we can replace those with."

The Sheriff's Office said, while those four items found is an "increase" in weapons at the jail, it's not as bad as they worried.

"Not only did it help answer that question of the unknown, it also helped show those inmates and our staff how important it is for us to run a safe facility," Col. White said.

Not long after that briefing Friday, a man at the jail building, who was in the middle of being arrested, left the jail and led police on a chase. Click here for that full story.

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