From Thomas Dishaw:
Regardless of your stance on drugs, I think most would agree that the Michigan State Police has no right to ‘run roadside saliva check points’.
The Michigan State Police is working on plans to establish a pilot program for roadside drug testing, a spokeswoman said.
A new law instructs the state police to pick five counties where it will run a one-year pilot program for saliva-based testing to check drivers for drugs like marijuana, heroin and cocaine.
“We expect the counties to be finalized this summer with a pilot to begin sometime later in the year,” MSP spokeswoman Shanon Banner said.
The five counties will be determined based on criteria including: the number of impaired driving crashes;the number of impaired drivers arrested; and the number of Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) trained in the county, she said.
Attorney Neil Rockind, founder of Southfield-based criminal defense law firm Rockind Law, opposed the legislation he said would set a “dangerous precedent” for Michigan.
“The criminal justice system wants to take science and turn it into a fast, easy utility,” Rockind said. “Science is neither fast nor easy.”
According to the Office of Highway Safety Planning, as of February, Michigan had 99 Certified Drug Recognition Experts in 37 counties.
DRE officers have received “highly specified training” to allow them to identify drivers with drug impairment, Banner said.
The saliva analysis will only be administered by a DRE, she said, and will be given along with the drug recognition 12-step evaluation currently used. DREs employed by state, county and municipal agencies could also be involved.
The law instructs the MSP to conduct a pilot program meant to establish policies in the area of roadside drug analysis, Banner said, and to make a determination of the accuracy and reliability of the tests.