Authorities worry about drugged driving after new pot law takes effect

Maryland needs more trained police officers to combat problem, prosecutors say Maryland prosecutors are concerned that the new law eliminating criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana will result in an increase in “drugged driving” that police are ill-equipped to handle. “It is inevitable that there will be an increase in drugged driving in Maryland,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said. “We’d better be ready.” Maryland’s decriminalization law, which makes possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil violation, takes effect Oct. 1. Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger and other prosecutors wanted state legislators to delay passing the law until such consequences could be better studied in Colorado and Washington, where voters legalized marijuana use in 2012. Colorado authorities are more aggressively addressing drugged driving, and Maryland officials should take notice, McCarthy and Shellenberger said. Colorado Department of Transportation officials launched a public education campaign in March called “Drive High, Get a DUI” featuring comical commercials about people who are high on marijuana and have no business driving. “We have seen an increase in drugged driving,” said John Jackson, first vice president of the Colorado Chiefs of Police Association. The evidence has been largely anecdotal, but his organization is receiving funds from state taxes on marijuana sales to train more officers as drug recognition experts. “We want

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Assessing a DUI suspect starts with the eyes, progresses to the breath

April 26, 2014 11:00 PM Comments 0 Glenn Osmundson/The Providence Journal DUI suspect George F. Daniels Jr., 47, of Providence, takes a preliminary breath test after being stopped by Providence police on suspicion on DUI on April 11. 1 of 2   After pulling over a motorist, a police officer questions the suspect and then administers a Standardized Field Sobriety Test. It is an assessment of a suspect’s mental and motor skills that consists of three familiar exercises: the tongue-twisting horizontal gaze nystagmus (inability to track), in which the suspect’s eye movements are checked by waving a finger or pen back and forth and up and down; the heel-to-toe walk and turn; and the one-leg stand. Clues are taken from each of the exercises to conclude whether there is sufficient evidence of impairment to establish the probable cause necessary to continue to detain and evaluate the individual, explained Richard T. Sullivan, a former Providence police chief who, as state law enforcement highway safety training coordinator, teaches officers at the Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy. With the one-leg stand, for example, if the suspect is swaying and hopping, failing to keep the leg up and holding his arms out for balance, he fails that element of the test. The field sobriety test is applicable whether someone is suffering impairment from

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Cracking down on impaired drivers

Troopers train to conduct field sobriety tests, even catching those under .08             DUI Training OFFICE AT THE NUMBER YOU SEE ON THE SCREEN, 264-6512. A FLORIDA HOUSE PASSED A BILL TO ALLOW TRAINED OFFICIALS TO CARRY GUNS IN SCHOOL. IT MAY NOT BECOME LAW THIS YEAR. THE HOUSE VOTE WAS 71-44 FOLLOWING AN EMOTIONAL DEBATE. THE BILL WOULD ALLOW SCHOOL BOARD TO DEVELOP A POLICY TO ALLOW RETIRED POLICE OR FORMER MILITARY PERSONNEL TO CARRY CONCEALED WEAPONS AT SCHOOLS. OPPONENTS SAY THE PRESENCE OF MORE GUNS AT SCHOOL INCREASES THE CHANCES FOR ANOTHER VIOLENT INCIDENT BUT THE BILL’S SPONSOR SAYS HAVING ARMED OFFICIALS IS CRITICAL WHEN SECONDS COUNT. UNFORTUNATELY THE INCIDENTS HAPPEN SO QUICKLY, IF SOMEBODY IS NOT PROPERLY TRAINED AND ARMED ON CAMPUSES TO RESPOND TO AN ACTIVE SHOOTER, THEY’RE GOING TO BE AT THE MERCY OF THE ACTIVE SHOOTER UNTIL LAW ENFORCEMENT GETS THERE. ALTHOUGH THE HOUSE PASSED IT, THE BILL HAS NOT BEEN HEARD IN ANY SENATE COMMITTEE. WITH ONLY FOUR DAYS LEFT IN THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION, IT’S UNLIKELY THE SENATE WILL TAKE UP THE BILL. THIS THURSDAY, CHANNEL 4 WILL EXAMINE GUNS HERE IN FLORIDA. IT’S AN ALL DAY SOCIAL TV EVENT WE’RE CALLING PROJECT 4, FIREARMS IN FLORIDA. WE’LL HAVE SPECIAL REPORTS EVERY HOUR DURING OUR NEWS, COVERING ALL THE ANGLES, INCLUDING WHAT IT TAKES

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LAPD admits to tampering with in-car video cameras

The L.A. Times reported yesterday that the LAPD has known for months that officers had been disabling the antennas which provide audio for the in-car video cameras. The antennas pick up the feed from the microphones on the officers’ belts so that audio is recorded with the video up to several hundred yards from the vehicle, said Sgt. Dan Gomez, a department expert on the recording devices. The abuse seemed to have been concentrated in South Central Los Angeles, where approximately 80 cars had missing antennas in the South L.A. Patrol Division alone. Police Chief Charlie Beck (pictured), said he chose not to investigate which officers had removed the cameras, but merely to tell them not to do it again.  

CDOT Launches New Campaign to Target Marijuana Impaired Driving

CDOT Launches New Campaign to Target Marijuana Impaired Driving Drive High, Get a DUI STATEWIDE—Colorado made history this year by becoming the first state to sell marijuana to anyone over the age of 21. At a press conference this afternoon, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) made history again by announcing the launch of an education campaign targeted at drivers about the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana. In 2012, there were 630 drivers involved in 472 motor vehicle fatalities on Colorado roadways. Of the 630 drivers involved, 286 were tested for drugs. Nearly 27 percent of drivers tested had a positive drug test, with 12 percent testing positive for cannabis. The official kick-off of CDOT’s new Drive High, Get a DUI campaign includes a series of television commercials that will air during shows targeting males between the ages 21-34, who tend to have the highest number of DUIs. There will also be widespread outreach to rental car companies and dispensaries to inform tourists and marijuana users about marijuana driving laws in Colorado. “Before beginning the campaign, we did extensive research about medical and recreational marijuana users’ perceptions of marijuana’s effects on driving,” said Amy Ford, CDOT Communications Director. “We heard repeatedly that people thought marijuana didn’t impact their driving ability, and some believed it actually made them a better

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‘Drive High, Get a DUI’ campaign launches in Colorado to stop stoned driving

DENVER – Colorado is launching a new “Drive High, Get A DUI” campaign to remind drivers that newly legal weed should be treated like alcohol and not consumed before driving. The campaign includes radio and TV ads and new posters to be displayed in dispensaries. The other part of the effort is enforcement. Right now, 200 officers of various agencies are trained recognition experts. Another 20 graduated with that certification Thursday. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper calls this a top priority, and wants at least 300 officers to be trained with this certification by next year. During 56 hours of training, officers are taught a 12-step process for recognizing the symptoms of drivers who may be impaired by a variety of drugs or alcohol. With marijuana, the officers are taught to look for enlarged pupils, sniff for the drug’s odor and look for small tremors in the driver’s body. “We teach them to look at certain things, and it is kind of an elimination process,” said Sgt. Rodney Noga from the Colorado State Patrol. Officers also check blood pressure, muscle softness and look for injection sites for other kinds of drug use. If drivers fail the observation test, a blood test is the next option to confirm or deny the presence of drug or alcohol impairment. The effort from the Colorado

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