CPS obtain three roadside cannabis testing devices

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By Shawna O'Neill
CPS obtain three roadside cannabis testing devices
TC Media file photo.

CORNWALL, Ontario – The Cornwall Police Service (CPS) has secured funding for three Dräger DrugTest 5000s to better assist officers in screening for impaired drivers in the area.

“The Cornwall Police Service (CPS) has secured Ministry funding to cover the cost of three Dräger DrugTest 5000s. The devices will serve as an additional tool, used in conjunction with our Standard Field Sobriety Test officers and Drug Recognition Experts, to detect and remove impaired drivers from our roads,” said Stephanie MacRae, CPS Communications Coordinator.

During the annual Police Board budget meeting on Feb. 26, Deputy Chief Shawna Spowart spoke about how she attended a Dräger presentation and demonstration in November 2018. She said that any hesitation to obtain the device, due to mixed messages about its accuracy, were absolved after learning more.

“Speaking to the reliability…when the Dräger 5000 first went public and we started to hear a lot about it, what (people) were speaking to was an employment version, so one in the sense that a truck driving business might use,” explained Spowart during the meeting. “Which, is a completely different device and tests for a variety of different drugs than one that the roadside screening test will be…This (knowledge) really lowered my hesitations. We have now seen the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police endorse this product, so I think we are in a far better position to consider its purchase now than when we were in the fall.”

Deputy Chief Spowart said she is not worried about any costs associated with training officers to use the Dräger 5000 as several officers are trained to use one of seven CPS alcohol testing roadside devices.

“We spent a lot of time in 2018 training our officers in field sobriety and drug recognition,” said Chief Danny Aikman. “They are quite expensive undertakings.”

At the time of the meeting, it was noted that CPS currently has four Drug Recognition Officers who are still engaging in training processes both in Canada and the U.S.

Chief Aikman recognized that to date, there has not been a significant number of charges laid in relation to driving under the influence of cannabis. He maintained that having tools to better determine if a driver is impaired is a resourceful investment.

“The CPS remains committed to the safety of the public and will continue to use various forms of technology, enforcement and education to assist in eliminating impaired driving from our community,” said MacRae.

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