* Decatur Herald & Review…
Police in Decatur and Macon County are gearing up for what officials expect will be an increase in impaired drivers after recreational cannabis becomes legal in Illinois next month.
Police and sheriff’s deputies are already trained to spot drivers who are drunk or high, but many are receiving additional training. Enforcing the new law could be complicated because cannabis can take many forms, such as edibles, which can look and smell like regular food. While a breathalyzer test can detect whether a driver has been drinking, blood tests will be used to determine if someone is driving while impaired by cannabis — expanding on a tool police already use to find drugs in a driver’s system.
“We will enforce how we interpret the legislation to the best of our ability,” said Decatur Police Chief Jim Getz. “We are going to make traffic stops based on violations and use our observations to take the next steps if things go further.”
The blood tests could be done at a hospital or by police who are trained in forensic phlebotomy. Of 10 officers in the state with such training, four of them are in Macon County, according to several of those interviewed by the Herald & Review.
You have to scroll down further to see this, though…
If an officer finds enough probable cause for an arrest, the officer will read the driver his or her rights from a form called the “warning to motorist.” This includes information about being able to consent or refuse chemical testing. The driver will be asked to allow blood and urine tests, [Larry Brooks, Decatur master patrol officer who is trained in forensic phlebotomy] said. […]
If police determine through field sobriety testing that more analysis is needed, they will proceed only if the driver gives written consent, Brooks said. Under state law, Illinois residents can refuse DUI testing, but face an automatic driver’s license suspension — or in more serious cases, revocation — if they do so, according to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. […]
If consent isn’t given, state law does allow police to obtain a search warrant for blood tests. Brooks said, as an example, this might be done in cases involving a crash that resulted in serious injury or death. […]
Sometimes it can be difficult to find a vein, particularly if the person is dehydrated or using illegal drugs, Brooks said. If the officer cannot successfully draw the blood from the hand or elbow after two attempts, the person will be sent to a hospital to allow medical personnel to take the blood from an easier access point. Suspects are also brought to a hospital for testing if a forensic phlebotomist is not available.
So, if the cops say you have to take a blood test and you refuse, they can obtain a warrant or you can lose your license. And if you consent, you could wind up being taken to a hospital.
Totally not an overreaction.
* And then there’s this…
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.