Decatur police training officers to draw blood for marijuana testing

Illinois Capitol News

DECATUR, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Police across the state are looking for an admissible test, like a breathalyzer, to test for those driving high, once marijuana is legalized.

Until then, Decatur police will use a different method. They will test your blood.

The officers began their training last year, well before the state legalized pot.

If an officer suspects someone is driving high, they can bring them in, and if the person gives permission they can draw their blood for testing. The tests would check for THC content, rather than traces of marijuana. THC leaves the blood much quicker, signs of the drug as a whole, which can stay in the blood for weeks.

The person who was pulled over can refuse the blood test, but that has consequences similar to refusing to take a breathalyzer test.

Sangamon County Jack Campbell said he will not be training any of his officers in phlebotomy. He does believe that there needs to be a test, or else law enforcement won’t be able to curtail what he expects to be a substantial uptick in DUI’s.

So far, Decatur police have only trained a few officers to draw blood. The process is expensive, but as more money becomes available, they said they will send more to training.

That won’t be the only new method Decatur police will be using to patrol the streets. The Decatur Police Department received a $500,000 donation from the Howard Buffett foundation. That money will be used to hire a new officer that is solely focused on catching drivers who are under the influence.

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