Putnamville uses cell phone detection dog to sniff and seize

Monday, December 30, 2013
Jarod Collenbaugh (right) and his dog Dixie are the newest tools Putnamville Correctional Facility has in combating the use of illicit cell phones by inmates at the facility.

PUTNAMVILLE -- Cell phones, every inmate wants one.

The possession of cell phones by offenders in our prisons is prohibited. They pose a threat to the safety and security of other offenders, staff and members of the community.

Offenders use them to circumvent prison phone monitoring systems, to facilitate acts of violence inside and outside of correctional facilities, to communicate with gang associates, and to devise plans to introduce narcotics and contraband into our facilities.

Putnamville Correctional Facility (PCF) Superintendent Stanley Knight, is using all the tools at his disposal to find cell phones that have been trafficked into the facility.

Linton resident Jarod Collenbaugh, a correctional officer and K-9 member from the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, and his 16-month-old dog named Dixie are the newest tools in Knight's arsenal.

Knight enlisted their services after the two successfully completed an eight-week program certifying them in cell phone detection.

Collenbaugh issued commands as Dixie sniffed her way through offender bed areas and property boxes looking for hidden cell phones. When she indicated a "hit," a cell phone was recovered.

"That's one less phone that we have to worry about," remarked PCF Assistant Superintendent of Operations Tim Phegley. "One less phone that may be used for criminal activity, or worse, cause someone to be hurt."

PCF staff finds and confiscates an average of 20 cell phones each month.

"Unfortunately, a small percentage of our staff and visitors succumb to manipulative offenders. When these individuals are identified, we act swiftly and aggressively, to hold all involved accountable for their actions," Knight said. "And until other methods are approved to stop unauthorized cell phone transmittal in our facilities, Collenbaugh and Dixie have proven to be an invaluable resource."

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