Rikers Island staff, cars to undergo drug searches by NYPD – NewsEverything New York

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In an effort to prevent drugs from entering New York City’s troubled main jail complex, Department of Correction staff and their cars will be searched upon entering Rikers Island, the Daily News has learned.

The first search rattled employees early Wednesday morning, when dozens of staff from the NYPD, DOC and New York City Sheriff’s Office inspected employees and their cars, correction sources said.

“The purpose of this inspection was not to invade your privacy or due to a lack of trust, but it is because we need to do all we can to mitigate drug contraband entering our facilities,” Correction Commissioner Louis Molina said in a video memo sent to staff.

The searches were done around 4:45 a.m. near the complex’s Perry Building, where officers and staff leave their personal vehicles upon checking in for a shift.

Rikers Island jail complex

Video viewed by The News shows an NYPD mobile command center set up in the parking lot before the sun had come up on the 400-acre island in the East River.

At least one correction officer was arrested after liquid cocaine was found either on him or in his car, sources said.

The NYPD took the officer into custody, the sources added.

Rikers staff voiced concern over the new policy.

“Since when does the NYPD and sheriff search correction officers and the unions are good with this?” said a correction officer who asked to remain anonymous.

Neither the Correction Department nor the NYPD immediately returned a request for comment on the unprecedented joint operation.

“Last November, a former staff member testified in federal court on one of the many ways contraband narcotics enters our jails,” Molina said in the memo. “This is something we just can’t tolerate.”

In addition to what correction sources say are ongoing searches of staff and their vehicles, the department will also be scanning non-legal mail, restricting how inmates receive packages and increasing the use of body scanner technology.

Molina recalled an incident last week in which two correction officers were transferred to a local hospital after they came into contact with drugs believed to be laced with fentanyl while searching an inmate.

“Thankfully they are OK but obviously, it is concerning for me and our leadership team when our staff and people in custody are at risk of being exposed to these dangerous drugs,” Molina said.



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Graham Rayman, Elizabeth Keogh

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