HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Cops Can Drug Test
Pubdate: Fri, 14 Nov 2008
Source: Chatham Daily News, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 OSPREY Media Group Inc.
Author: Aaron Hall
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Ckps Officers Complete Training

A new tool is at the hands of the Chatham-Kent Police Service to
better detect drug use in impaired drivers.

Const. Chris Baillargeon, who recently became a certified Drug
Recognition Expert, is qualified to conduct a 12-step drug impairment
evaluation that allows him to classify the type of drugs he identifies
in an impaired driver.

After training was provided to members of the CKPS by Baillargeon, he
said "I could see the lights starting to go off.

"They started to remember situations where individuals were showing
some of these symptoms, but they did not know what it was,"
Baillargeon said.

His training allows him to detect signs and symptoms for seven
categories of drugs, including depressants, stimulants, narcotic
analgesics, inhalants and cannabis.

He said officers would have to release individuals who did not blow
over using a breathalyzer, but showed signs of impairment.

Baillargeon said Bill C2, passed in July this year, was the
legislation that made it mandatory for drivers arrested for impaired
driving believed to be under the influence of drugs -- rather then
alcohol -- to complete the drug recognition tests.

"They can be charged with refusing to provide a sample if they don't
comply," he said.

Baillargeon said since the legislation was passed, he has conducted
two tests in Chatham- Kent, both resulting in charges.

He said the cases both involved individuals taking prescription drugs
and have not yet appeared in court.

Baillargeon said drivers charged under these circumstances face
similar consequences as drivers charged with the impairment of alcohol.

A conviction for a first offence consists of a fine and a one year
driving prohibition. Subsequent convictions result in higher fines,
mandatory minimum jail sentences, 14 days for a second and 90 days for
a third. Baillargeon said he is one of 63 instructors of the drug
recognition expert program across Canada. He said more than 350 drug
experts exist across the country.

He said illicit drugs common in the area, such as marijuana or
cocaine, can be detected using his 12-step program, which includes
blood pressure, pulse, temperature and a urine sample.

Baillargeon is on-call 24 hours a day but the CKPS has expressed
interest in getting another officer trained.
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