Roadside drug testing expands to GRPD, other agencies

Grand Rapids
roadside drug testing tool 110317_431202

Police display the handheld device used for roadside drug testing.

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Starting Tuesday, more than 50 law enforcement agencies statewide will begin roadside drug testing of drivers who appear to be driving under the influence of drugs, including nearly a dozen in West Michigan.

The committee behind the pilot program recommended expanding the program to include all drug recognition experts statewide because the group said too few police agencies were involved in the first phase of the program to determine if roadside drug testing is effective.

Beginning Oct. 1, the following law enforcement agencies will take part in roadside drug testing:

  • Adrian Township Police Department
  • Allegan County Sheriff’s Department
  • Alma Department of Public Safety
  • Alpena Police Department
  • Ann Arbor Police Department
  • Auburn Hills Police Department
  • Battle Creek Police Department
  • Bay City Police Department
  • Bay County Sheriff’s Office
  • Berrien County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bloomfield Township Police Department
  • Cadillac Police Department
  • Canton Township Police Department
  • Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office
  • Chikaming Township Police Department
  • Clawson Police Department
  • Dearborn Police Department
  • Escanaba Department of Public Safety
  • Gogebic County Sheriff’s Office
  • Grand Blanc Township Police Department
  • Grand Haven Department of Public Safety
  • Grand Rapids Police Department
  • Grand Valley State University Police Department
  • Greenville Department of Public Safety
  • Hamburg Township Police Department
  • Imlay City Police Department
  • Ingham County Sheriff’s Office
  • Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Department
  • Kent County Sheriff’s Office
  • Lake County Sheriff’s Office
  • Lapeer Police Department
  • Lincoln Township Police Department
  • Livonia Police Department
  • Macomb County Sheriff’s Department
  • Marquette County Sheriff’s Office
  • Menominee Police Department
  • Michigan State Police
  • Midland Police Department
  • Monroe Department of Public Safety
  • Mt. Pleasant Police Department
  • Muskegon Police Department
  • Novi Police Department
  • Oscoda Township Police Department
  • Petoskey Department of Public Safety
  • Pokagon Tribal Police
  • Port Huron Police Department
  • Roscommon County Sheriff’s Department
  • Southfield Police Department
  • St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office
  • Troy Police Department
  • University of Michigan Police Department
  • Washtenaw Co Sheriff’s Office
  • Wayland Police Department
  • Western Michigan University Department of Public Service
  • Ypsilanti Police Department

Under the program, a police drug recognition expert can ask a driver believed to be under the influence of drugs to give a saliva sample for drug testing. The DRE takes a swab of the suspect’s mouth and uses a handheld device to test it on site for marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, opiates and benzodiazepine, which is a very large class of antidepressants.

Anyone who refuses the test ordered by police could face a $200 fine, but an attorney told News 8 he advises clients and relatives to decline the test.

roadside drug testing saliva lab samples Forensic Fluids Laboratories Kalamazoo 112217_437543
A lab tests a saliva sample taken during roadside drug testing.

Kent and Berrien counties were among five Michigan counties involved in the first one-year phase of the program, which ended in November 2018. All of the samples were processed by Forensic Fluids Laboratories in Kalamazoo.

Michigan State Police say deadly crashes involving drivers impaired by drugs has been steadily increasing over the last several years. In 2018, state police say drugs were involved in 247 deadly crashes.

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