By Julie Montanaro
September 6, 7:30 p.m.
In the wake of a deadly shoot out, Tallahassee’s federal prison is now screening employees for weapons and contraband.
The security checks began a few weeks ago and according to the Bureau of Prisons, FCI is now the first and only prison in the country with the added security.
The shootout shocked the nation. A federal corrections officer opens fire on two fellow federal agents who had come to arrest him in a sex for favors scandal, and he did it with his own gun. The Bureau of Prisons admits that day employees are not subject to screenings at this federal prison or any other.
Matt Fitzgerald works near FCI. "If guards aren't carrying guns, we don't have to worry about situations like that," he says, "as far as the whole situation that went on with guards being corrupt like that, that makes you start to worry about the system."
According to Bureau of Prisons spokesman Michael Truman, FCI employees from the warden on down are now screened every time they enter the prison. They must walk through a metal detector like this one and their belongings are screened by x-ray.
Truman says the changes were in the works before the shootout, but screenings began within weeks of that deadly day (July 25 to be exact) and Truman admits FCI is the only federal prison screening staff right now. He says the policies and procedures are still being developed for the rest of the prison system.
Those who watched the events of June 21 unfold on the prison doorstep that day say it's about time.
"I think, of course, it's something that should have been done and maybe what happened probably wouldn't have happened, but it's good and I'm proud to see they've got that in place now," said Marvin Swain, who works across the street from the prison.
Attorney Tim Jansen, who has represented several guards accused of bringing contraband into FCI, says if the Bureau of Prisons is serious about keeping drugs and weapons out, it should screen staff at "every" federal prison to protect both the inmates and the guards.
The Bureau of Prisons would not allow our cameras into FCI or authorize any on-camera interviews for this story.
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