Minor offenses could lead to strip search

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that jail authorities may strip search people arrested for even minor offenses.

This comes after a New Jersey man was strip searched for a minor traffic violation.

The Supreme Court ruled that was alright.

But Amarillo police say that is not one of their procedures.

"We're arresting people on a daily basis, from minor traffic violations all the way to felony first degree charges," said Cpl. Jerry Neufeld with the Amarillo Police Department. "The officers will do a pat down search of that individual."

But once the person is turned over to the county, legally, that person could be strip searched for that unpaid ticket.

"We have to keep drugs and weapons out of the jail," said Chief Deputy Roger Short with Potter County. "Because we're responsible for the safety of everyone we do perform strip searches and typically they're not that intrusive. Occasionally they are."

Short says they do not search someone who is in holding, for things like unpaid traffic tickets.

"If someone has a crime serious enough that they can't make bond and have to be moved into general population-inside the secured facility-that's where a strip search occurs," Short said.

He says Potter County wants to be reasonable in how they do their searches.

Civil Rights Lawyer Jeff Blackburn says that for every Potter County, there will be five more counties that will strip search people arrested for traffic violations just because they can.

He says the decision is a huge step backwards and an invasion of people's privacy.