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LSO starts using new X-ray technology for interstate busts

(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Oct. 24, 2017 at 9:35 PM CDT
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The machine is called a Heuresis Back-scanner X-Ray imager, and is only the second one in Nebraska. They cost a lot, and are pretty rare, but after a $70,000 dollar bust earlier this month, LSO said it's already paid off.

The handheld device is changing the way Lancaster County Sheriffs clean up the streets.

"The technology the big thing is one it makes it a lot quicker for the deputies who make the traffic stops up there so that they can see what it is without damaging people's property," said Captain Ben Houchin of the LSO Criminal Investigation Unit.

They got it earlier this month. Now, when they stop a vehicle, if they have probable cause, they can scan the car to see if anything is hiding inside.

"Its not just for drugs or cash its for guns its for any other of those kinds of things. Hidden compartments that they may be hauling illegal items," said Houchin.

It cost the department roughly $40,000. LSO said its basically an Android phone connected to an X-Ray machine, and it's portable.

LSO was able to purchase the technology from their forfeiture funds. When they make busts sometimes they get part of the recovered money to use for training and equipment.

"Some of taking the bad guys money from them we are able to buy pieces of equipment that are going to help utilize... make our jobs a lot simpler, safer and more effective," said Houchin.

With I-80 running from the West Coast to the East, and crossing right through Lincoln, it's a popular route to traffic illegal goods. LSO said it normally makes 75 to 100 large busts every year. That's about once every four days.

"While we've made cases that the drugs were coming to Lincoln, but it's also going through and affecting other communities. You can't just have the narrow mindset of worrying about your own. You have to worry about the whole thing. And this is one thing that we have found we can make a difference throughout the whole United States," said Houchin.

Four deputies are trained to use the scanner right now and they are stationed on the interstate.

With this new technology it doesn't mean the K-9's aren't used. A lot of times they still need the dogs to get probable cause.