Sheriff Kevin Joyce publicly apologized Thursday morning to all female professionals and visitors at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland who have been told to remove their underwire bras before they being allowed to enter the facility.

Joyce spoke during his second news conference in less than a week since a controversy began over jail officers confronting women whose bras triggered a metal detector at the jail’s entrance.

Joyce apologized to two female attorneys by name, Amy Fairfield and Gina Yamartino, who refused to remove their bras when told to do so by jail officers and brought the jail practice to make remove their undergarments to light.

He also apologized to any woman who has not yet been identified who were told to undress before they were either admitted to see a jailed inmate face to face for a professional reason, such as a mental health worker, and to visitors coming to see loved ones who are in custody.

Joyce said no women, professionals or visitors, will be asked again to remove their bras to be admitted to the jail and said he discovered this week that officers had begun the practice by misinterpreting a metal detector policy.

“In all honesty, when I signed this policy, the issue of underwire bras never crossed my mind,” Joyce said.

Joyce went a step further at Thursday’s news conference than he had at a news conference on Monday, when he declined to issue an apology. At Monday’s gathering, he said he needed to investigate what happened first before apologizing.

“It was never my intention nor that of the officers involved to offend any of our visitors or embarrass them in any way. At this time, as well, I would like to publicly apologize to attorneys Fairfield and Yamartino and any other unknown visitors or professionals who had been confronted with this situation, having offended them or having caused any embarrassment,” Joyce said. “While our goal has always been to keep our jail safe and secure as possible, I want to do so in a manner that fairly balances those considerations with those of the general public and in particular those of our professional visitors.”

Joyce said he personally took full responsibility for the shortfalling of his officers for not training them on how to carry out the metal detector policy. The policy states that visitors who trigger the metal detector even after metal objects they are carrying to be scanned with a handheld detector, often called a wand, he said.

This story will be updated.

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