Pubdate: Fri, 20 Jan 2017
Source: Metro (Halifax, CN NS)
Copyright: 2017 Metro Canada
Author: Haley Ryan
Page: 6


Police forces in Canada testing out devices over February

Next time you come across a police checkpoint in Halifax, you might be
asked to help test a roadside drug-screening device.

Halifax Regional Police (HRP) began a new Public Safety Canada pilot
project a week and half ago, and have until the end of February to
collect 100 saliva samples from anyone who'd like to anonymously
volunteer for the testing in a regular traffic stop.

"This is for us. It's not about any of the public, it's about how
user-friendly are these devices for the police at roadside," Const.
Kristine Fraser of the HRP traffic unit said Thursday. "If you say
'um, no,' (it's) 'okay, thank you for your time,' and you drive away.'"

Fraser said HRP was the only Atlantic force selected for the pilot,
alongside RCMP groups and other services in Toronto, Vancouver,
Gatineau, North Battleford, Yellowknife and the Ontario Provincial

A few members from each group were trained in Ottawa this December,
and brought the Alere DDS 2 and the Securetec DrugWipe 6S back to
record their experiences, like how they perform in varying
temperatures and weather. The devices test saliva for the presence of
certain drugs, including cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine and opioids.

Fraser said officers will only ask drivers if they'd like to volunteer
after police determine they're not impaired by drugs or alcohol. If
they agree, Fraser said an officer will take their saliva sample, but
won't ask for a name, driver's licence or licence plate. Police then
put the sample in one of the models, wait five or eight minutes
depending on which one, then throw it away.

The devices give a readout on whether the saliva tested positive or
negative for each drug type, Fraser said. But even if a volunteer
tests positive, Fraser said no arrests or charges will be made, and
nothing will be used as evidence for a search warrant later, since
it's not illegal to have cocaine or cannabis in your system.

"We had a couple positives today, but that could mean that somebody
maybe smoked some marijuana a week ago," Fraser said. If eventually
approved, Fraser said the devices would be used like the existing
roadside tests for alcohol, after officers have assessed a driver is
impaired. If they fail, people would then be taken back to a
detachment for more testing by a qualified technician.
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