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  • Shakedown

    I did my first shakedown today being today was my first day back as being officially a CO. I was looking for some advice and I know this is a good place to get it from seasoned experienced officers. My question is, when you are doing a shakedown, besides the obvious places to look for contraband, what are some not so obvious places to look? for example, like inside all of the stuff in his locker, like I heard a radio was a good place to hide contraband and I would have never thought they could hide the stuff as well as they do in a radio. I know I will learn with time and learn from my mistakes the places I need to look but I was just looking for a little heads up advice from you guys. Also as far as nuisance contraband, I asked my unit manager today about like ketchup packets and stuff like that and he said you really need to take it up but "it's your call to whether you do or not". As they told me in BCOT when you tell an inmate something, leave no room for interpretation. B/C I know a lot of officers don't take their nuisance contraband like that. Does it make life easier on you in the long run if you don't take every little thing they have that isn't going to harm you or put someone in danger? I know you have to walk the fine line between not being a hard *** and not being a whimp either. So that's why I asking, sorry for all the questions.

    Thanks
    Nathan

  • #2
    Best way to figure out where a convict might hide something is to put yourself in their place mentally and think where you would try to hide things. And, watch and listen to the convicts demeanor as you toss his hut. Most often they will, if they are allowed to be present, give unwilling hints when you are either close to finding contraband or have just missed it.

    And always presume that there is something wrong with whatever you are looking at. Because odds are there is.

    As for nusiance contraband, personally I took it. If the handbook said they could have it, they kept it. If not, out it went. Have a rep as a hardass, but fair to all. Works well for me.

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    • #3
      If there is one thing convicts are good at its hiding contraband. My facility is a dorm setting not single cells. When we do a shakedown in one of the dorms we check everything. Lockers, everything in the lockers, book bindings, deodorant, soap, radios, everything. Thru the dorm other than the obvious places we check the exit signs, water fountain, behind any sign that is bolted to the wall. TV, payphone, under sinks, showerheads etc. If there is room for contraband, at some point there either has been or will be contraband hidden in there.
      Be sure you're right, then go ahead
      Davy Crockett

      Never pick a fight with an old man.
      If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you
      .


      PM me if you wanna swap patches.

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      • #4
        And don't forget to check the fire extingishers...they can fill them with pruno and other contraband.
        With Strength and Power We Will Prevail......

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        • #5
          Shakedown

          Found the needles to a tat gun one night, but couldn't find the motor unit. Went back into the same cell the next night and this time, decided to check the balled up socks in the bottom of $hitheAd's laundry bag. Low and behold, I found the tat gun! LT let me keep it as it was the first "real" contraband I had found. Also got to keep the shank found in a common TV room wall one night. Look for a batch of hootch (pruno) to start on Tuesday or Wednesday evening - 3-4 days of cooking and on Fri/Sat night they get lit. Always waited until Thursday to find it though - just to **** them off a bit.

          Rule of thumb that was taught to me by the majority of CO's I worked with was that if the inmate didn't give you any $hit and basically did what he was told, I didn't really count how many newspapers or mags he had, unless he obviously had a buttload. Same with smokes 20 was the max, but we'd let them keep 30 if they weren't too big a piece of $hit.

          Now once they decided to cop an attitude with ANY staff member, excess ANYTHING was taken away almost immediately. Same when we had to roll up an inmate to SHU or Med Seg - no skin mags, no excess anything.

          Just two-cents worth from a former BOP CO.
          Ken
          * * * * * * * * * *
          I must go down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife; And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover, and quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

          Comment


          • #6
            Don't stop just because they throw you a bone....

            Originally posted by Bnathanb1982
            I did my first shakedown today being today was my first day back as being officially a CO. I was looking for some advice and I know this is a good place to get it from seasoned experienced officers. My question is, when you are doing a shakedown, besides the obvious places to look for contraband, what are some not so obvious places to look? for example, like inside all of the stuff in his locker, like I heard a radio was a good place to hide contraband and I would have never thought they could hide the stuff as well as they do in a radio. I know I will learn with time and learn from my mistakes the places I need to look but I was just looking for a little heads up advice from you guys. Also as far as nuisance contraband, I asked my unit manager today about like ketchup packets and stuff like that and he said you really need to take it up but "it's your call to whether you do or not". As they told me in BCOT when you tell an inmate something, leave no room for interpretation. B/C I know a lot of officers don't take their nuisance contraband like that. Does it make life easier on you in the long run if you don't take every little thing they have that isn't going to harm you or put someone in danger? I know you have to walk the fine line between not being a hard *** and not being a whimp either. So that's why I asking, sorry for all the questions.

            Thanks
            Nathan
            Nathan,

            The thugs will know that your a newbie or a rookie and will plant little things to see how you will react when finding them. If you find a little (dope or hooch/pruno), don't stop there, keep going. Inmates know that you will want to be a good CO and will want to make a name for yourself (even if you don't). And they will try to get you to stop looking after awhile by placing "what your looking for" in a place or places away from the mother-load of there dope, hooch and weapons.

            Just my two cents.

            Comment


            • #7
              When we do shakedowns the inmates are not present (we boot them out of the area) so there is no giving hints, etc. In the past few weeks we've found the makings of a tat gun in the mop closet (using a portable tape player/fm radio) about a case of ink pens stashed up in the ceiling tiles (yes we have ceiling tiles at this particular facility, pretty sad eh?) and several other items. Basically, if they have any state or personal property that is modified AT ALL it goes. (we do allow them to send the personal property home however).

              Also, are there any other states out there besides NH that has tobacco free facilities? Tabacco seems to be our #1 problem. With our C-3 and higher inmates, we have problems with people trying to throw tobacco over the fence occationally, and also many try to smuggle it in via visits by swallowing small ballons and purging later. With our "outside the fence" C-1+C-2 inmates (work release, etc) they try to sneak out to the tree line and pick up drops from family, etc.
              Last edited by lawguy; 08-02-2005, 09:03 PM.

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              • #8
                (Not sworn; Please forgive this indiscretion.)

                Tobacco is a huge problem in my province right now -- all provincial facilities have recently become tobacco-free. As a result, matches, lighters, tea, tea bags, and fruit peels are therefore deemed as contraband as well.

                To address the issue of smoking non-tobacco items, nicotine patches are issued to all inmates. However, many inmates actually peel the adhesive off and let the patches dry under a light. The dried patches are then rolled up and smoked by "wicking" them off of bits of tinfoil left in electrical outlets. Quite a clever way to light a smoke, let me tell you.

                My particular facility allows smoking, but only in a designated outdoor area. It's common for our guys to smoke in their rooms, but it's nearly impossible to catch them in the act. We are not permitted to discipline otherwise.

                Comment


                • #9
                  One of the most inovative hiding places I found was in the corregation of cardboard boxes. They were filling the hollow corregation with tobacco or MJ and sending it in. I've found contraband in deodorant, shampoo, TVs, radios, casette players, pillows, mattresses, clothing seams, shoe inserts, shoe heals and soles, light fixtures, suspended in toilets and urinals, in the wall, in the ceiling, and just about anywhere that an inmate has access to. As stated before, when you find contraband, keep searching, there will probably be more. In a double cell, most inmates keep their contraband where they can reach it. They don't want their celly to take it!
                  Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice. Barry Goldwater

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    They have 24/7 to figure out where to hide stuff. You're there 8 hours a day.
                    It really is their house and they know every inch of it. Serach and Search AGAIN.
                    Two to Three CO's searching the same area one right after the other is the best. One might find something another missed.
                    Good CO's that can find contraband get nicknames. "Bloodhound" etc from the old cons.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Shakedown

                      Thanks for all the advice, I'll definatley keep it in the back of my head when I'm doing my shakedowns. I worked today on my first official post which was a control room of the worst building we have in GP. It's all the young smart a** gang banger types. It was definatley a challenge. It's sad to see the range officer just let the inmates do whatever the heck they wanted to. I know that you can't go strictly by the books and you won't be able to stop them from doing everything but there is a fine line inbetween isn't there? The officer I worked with tonight didn't even do his shakedowns which he is supposed to do three per side and he had 2 ranges. He said he doesn't hardly ever do them just basically b/c he doesn't feel like it and the inmates respect him b/c of it. Of course they do, they know they can do whatever or pass whatever when he's working. It's just frustrating working with officers like that who's lack of interest and laziness wil get you hurt or killed.

                      Nathan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Smoke free in the buildings only. They can smoke outside. No more cans of bugler tobacco for sale. I they want to smoke, they must buy what the canteen has to offer in factory made smokes.
                        In Ca.
                        With Strength and Power We Will Prevail......

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Most of the cons will have a punk keester their drugs. Old timers will almost never have contraband in their house. Search the punks, they will get nervous if you are getting warm. Often they will distract you to get you out of their cell. A fight may break out or they will tell you the phone is ringing or someone is at the front gate. They aren't really afraid of going to SHU as much as they are afraid of what will happen to them as a result of someone elses tat-rig/meth/cap of weed/shank getting taken from them by a CO. If they loose someones drugs, they are in debt and will get the crap beaten out of them or forced to work off the dept.

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                          • #14
                            I had a inmate build a false wall using cardboard and peeled paint. The only way I found it was I happened touch touch the area during the search. Also during the same search, I found a needle hidden in the toungue of his shoe. It's everywhere and you will never find it all.

                            And one last thing. We used to have a problem with headphones breaking all the time and having to replace them. In the numerous broken headsets we had stockpiled, one CO took them apart and used the metal piece to search with. It's great to stick in those little places your fingers you can't reach.

                            Hope this helps,
                            -Rick-

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Just Use Common Sense , Your Watching Them They Are Watching You . They Have 24 Hours To Figure You Out ,you Have 8 Hours To Stop Them . When It Comes To Shakedowns Aiways Be Consistent With Them If You Let Them Slide Then That Is What They Will Expect From You , Dont Play Favors Treat Them All The Same . Now Im Not Telling You To Go Ape **** Over Excess Sugar Or One Two Many Pencils . You Can Use Officer Discection When It Comes To Nuiance Contraband Any Thing Else Let Them Have It . Be Firm And Fair If Your Unit Is Running Smoothly Dont Rock The Boat Onc You Establish Control You Can Set The Tone . One Thing That Use To **** Me Off Was When Another Officer Came In My Dorm Stiring Up **** , Dont Let That Happen Take Control Of Your Unit . Just A Little Advice From A Former C.o. At Scott Stae Prison ( Ga Dept. Of Corrections ) .
                              STAND FOR SOMETHING OR FALL FOR ANYTHING .

                              Comment

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