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Roadside Drug Testing after DUI Arrests May Be Coming to Paducah

The Paducah City Commission may authorize the city’s police department to participate in a roadside drug testing pilot program.

A $25,000 grant from the Kentucky Office of Safety will fund the program. Police will use a saliva swab test on voluntary participants after they’ve been arrested for driving under the influence.

“In this pilot program over the course of time, a year or two, they will see whether these oral swabs can be used as a method for officers to have, be able use them on the roadside,” said Paducah Police Department chief Brandon Barnhill.

Office of Highway Safety assistant director Michael Schwendau said results won’t be admissible in court during the pilot period, but will be compared to other state-conducted blood tests.

“If they’re equal or meet the criteria of the blood, we will progress with a further test and use them like the portable breath tests as a field sobriety device in the future,” Schwendau said.

Schwendau said the oral swab tests have been very successful in California, particularly in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Lexington and Louisville police along with Kentucky State Police Post 7 in Madison County have also been asked to participate. The Paducah City Commission will vote March 10th on the project’s authorization.

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
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