Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Decatur police will use blood tests to check drivers for pot use
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Decatur police will use blood tests to check drivers for pot use

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2019

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Almost the weekend - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:07 pm:

    “I only see one color when it comes to blood, Red”
    -Decatur Police Department

    This town keeps going backwards when it desperately needs to move forward.

  2. - welp ok - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:09 pm:

    I would be a pot cop for $500K.

  3. - Lakefront DSA - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:10 pm:

    Fun fact: there is no blood or urine test that can detect if a person recently has used cannabis, due to the way it body metabolizes the psychoactive components. Recently some of our scientist comrades at UofC were tasked by the state with trying to develop a new one that would. They found that it was impossible with today’s best technology. Expect this to become the new “broken tail light” that police use to harass and intimidate minorites.

  4. - SSL - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:12 pm:

    That’s going to be one well paid officer. And based on what I see happening on the roads these days, half the people out there are driving under the influence of something. Should be an easy job.

  5. - Served - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:12 pm:

    Can’t wait to see the demographic statistics on how this is deployed.

  6. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:13 pm:

    Pre-legalization there were three types of people. 1.People who didn’t use marijuana because they didn’t like it, and 2.people who used marijuana and didn’t care that they broke the law and 3.people who wanted to use marijuana but chose not to use it because they didn’t want to break the law.

    So with legalization we still have 1. and 2. who won’t change their behavior but now 3. can change their behavior. If type 3. didn’t want to break the law before legalization why would they choose to break the law(in the form of a DUI) after?

  7. - grand old non-partisan - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    If the cops say you have to take a blood test BECAUSE YOU FAILED THE FIELD SOBRIETY TEST and you refuse, they can obtain a warrant or you can lose your license.

    That seems reasonable to me.

    And if you do a simple Google search for “decatur fatal dui crash,” I think it would be hard to argue that having at least one officer dedicated to addressing the issue is also very reasonable.

  8. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:18 pm:

    ===And based on what I see happening on the roads these days, half the people out there are driving under the influence of something===

    You must live in a weird neighborhood.

  9. - Maximus - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:19 pm:

    Blowing into a breathalyzer is quick and simple and painless. Now I need to have a needle shoved into my vein to have blood drawn just to prove Im not high? What if I hate needles?

  10. - j - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:21 pm:

    Insane. Why are private dollars allowed to finance law enforcement? Seems like a very bad idea. Law enforcement should be a function of the nation state. Not a private foundation with an agenda. The drug war part 2 coming soon to Decatur, IL

  11. - grand old non-partisan - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:23 pm:

    Lakefront DSA - that isn’t quite accurate.

    It’s true that THC has a different curve for metabolism than alcohol. It drops quickly but then lingers at a low level for a long time. But if you have more than 5 ng/mL in your system, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be the result of recent use.

    That being said, what there is no scientific justification for is linking a certain concentration of THC to a particular degree of impairment. There are more variables than there are for alcohol. So some may be able to function perfectly line at 5ng and higher, while others may be dangerously impaired at lower levels. It’s not law enforcement’s fault that there isn’t a scientifically valid way to be more precise. But they have to do the best they can to protect public safety.

  12. - Out Here In The Middle - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:24 pm:

    I started getting concerned at:

    “We will enforce how we interpret the legislation”

  13. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:29 pm:

    Keep electing Republicans so they’ll keep appointing radical judges. Apparently on the 2nd Amendment is sacrosanct for the “originalists.”

  14. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:29 pm:

    *only* the 2nd Amendment…

  15. - Flat Bed Ford - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    =Insane. Why are private dollars allowed to finance law enforcement?=

    Now do the Governor’s office.

  16. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:35 pm:

    Laws old and new have consequences. Just because it will be legal to consume does not mean it is a free for all. Employers still have the legal right to test applicant/employees and the current DUI laws still apply. Drivers all over IL that are involved in serious injury or death accident will certainly see scrutiny for THC impairment.

  17. - um no - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:41 pm:

    It’s not an overreaction. It’s “implied consent” and it’s been around for decades..

  18. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:44 pm:

    Cant you test positive for pot for a few weeks after use?

  19. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    From the article:

    Illinois State Police will continue to use saliva testing to detect THC, but Macon County and Decatur law enforcement officials say they are taking a different route because blood tests are more accurate.

    “Blood is the most honest and accurate thing you can get,” said Larry Brooks, Decatur master patrol officer who is trained in forensic phlebotomy. “The (saliva tests) are not consistent. We’ve had people actually dose with cannabis in front of us, and then they’ll show up negative on those saliva tests.”

    If blood is the most honest and accurate thing you can get, then why not use it for alcohol testing as well?

  20. - Rutro - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    Not going to Decatur.

  21. - Ambassador Abe - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    As far as the revocation, I believe drivers suspected of drunk driving can also refuse breathalyzers and sobriety tests with the possibility of license suspension or revocation. It’s not just for a DUI for marijuana.

  22. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:48 pm:

    =Keep electing Republicans so they’ll keep appointing radical judges. Apparently on the 2nd Amendment is sacrosanct for the “originalists.”=

    Which is supremely ironic since the 2nd Amendment was and addition and not originally in the constitution.

    =It’s not an overreaction. It’s “implied consent” and it’s been around for decades..=

    Nope, overreaction.

  23. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    Sounds like the Decatur PD isnt happy about pot being legal. Why would you do this otherwise? I could get pulled over with red eyes and end up with a needle jabbed in my arm

  24. - Maryjane - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    “…$500,000 donation from the Howard Buffett foundation…”

    I’ll bet a six-pack of Beck’s N/A, that those most administered the “bitter feelings having a public sad-authoritarian, but a rich dude likes us, vampire protocol ” will be the same demographic that caught the worst of it before.

  25. - Payback - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    “The blood tests could be done at a hospital or by police who are trained in forensic phlebotomy.” The fact that cops are trained to puncture your body with a needle and steal the lifeblood of any human being, much less a United States citizen, is proof that the America is descending backwards into the middle ages.

    Anyone who thinks this is a good idea is a sick freak. The underlying premise of the “law” here is that you are a slave or a serf who does not own their own body, you are an animal that is property of the state. Let’s just bring back torture to get confessions and do away with prosecutors and judges to check and balance the police while we’re at it. Totally evil.

  26. - FormerParatrooper - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:02 pm:

    I think this is a bad idea. You are creating a wound to draw blood. Even in clinical settings you can introduce pathogens. And will this be done on the side of the road? Then you have people with extreme phobias who may “wig” out. How will they handle that? Hopefully not a taser or firearm. The risk is small, but it is still a risk. Then what if the officer damages the vein? Will the individual be afforded the right to sue? Even well trained and practiced medical professionals miss the vein on occasion.

  27. - Amateurs dude - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:06 pm:

    This was entirely predictable. Pritzker and Christian “I don’t pay attention to details or read Constitutiona” Mitchell should’ve not only anticipated this overreaction - seeing as it is current law and been in place for years now with DUIs - they should’ve addressed it.

  28. - depressed in politics - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:08 pm:

    compulsory testing for DUI has been the law since Schmerber v. California in 1966 and was reaffirmed by the Illinois Supreme Court as recently as December 5, 2019. Not an overreaction, merely following half century old precedent. See. People v. Ralph Eubanks.

  29. - Red Ketcher - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    Regardless , of how deployed Decatur’s method will have a much greater adverse impact on poor people.
    High priced experts hired by high priced lawyers representing wealthy defendants will tear the procedures and tests apart for the foreseeable future. Those with money will be far more likely to aquitted at trial.
    Plus , there’s no right to a Public Defender on Implied Consent. So those without money a lot more likely to lose Driving Priveleges.

    Time will Tell

  30. - Anonymous 71 - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    Currently, driving with any amount of a controlled substance in your blood (besides cannabis) is a DUI, and having a prescription is not a defense. So, everyone who is taking mental health meds as prescribed, pain medications as prescribed, or even popped a sudafed are now going to be arrested for DUIs with increased blood draws. This increased enforcement is not a good thing.

  31. - Decaturland - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:16 pm:

    Howard Buffett didn’t want pot dispensaries. Didn’t happen. Howard Buffett gives 500 grand. Now this. Buffett runs the town. Welcome to the Gilded Age.

  32. - Downstate - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:22 pm:

    Blood testing is not an accurate determinant of marijuana impairment. Several employers are now implementing random drug testing under a “zero tolerance” policy. There is simply too much risk to the fellow employees and the business owners.

  33. - Jocko - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:24 pm:

    It might be high time I take those Grateful Dead and Phish stickers off my car’s rear window/trunk.

  34. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:24 pm:

    “half the people out there are driving under the influence of something” Ok, I’ll ask, which one is it in your car, you or your wife?

  35. - Flapdoodle - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:27 pm:

    Do you ever get the feeling that some people are just looking for ways to screw things up?

  36. - Druid Eye - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:28 pm:

    Here is a scenario. What if you are a casual user of marijuana but only use in the privacy of your home after work. Then….unfortunately and tragically, you are involved in a fatal car accident. Pursuant to the accident….all drivers are tested….and your results comes up positive. Although you’re confident you are not the cause of the accident.. just left work…can you be found culpable and under the influence when law enforcement gets a positive result of your blood from your casual use??? THC stays in your system a long time.

  37. - Gohawks123 - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:37 pm:

    Can someone ask Howard Buffett why he hates pot??

  38. - obiter dictum - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:45 pm:

    the DUI statute (11-501(a)(7) already provides that if within 2 hours of driving you have tetrahydrocannabond concentration (THC) as defined in 11-501.2(6) 5 nanograms of whole blood or 10 nanograms of delta 9 tetrahydrocannabond per milliter of other body fluid there is a violation. The draws are not done “on the side of the road” has to be by doctor, nurse or licensed phlebotomist

  39. - Lefty Lefty - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:49 pm:

    Solutions looking for problems creating more problems.

    It will be interesting to see the data after a year or two of Decatur “evaluating” potentially high drivers vs. other jurisdictions.

  40. - Anonymous 71 - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:49 pm:

    Druid Eye, if your THC level is 10 nanograms or higher and you were a proximate cause of the accident (which legally does not mean you were mostly at fault, just a little at fault) then yes you can be charged with an Agg DUI causing death. Even if you are under ten nanograms they could still try to get you as a general “under the influence” but that would be harder to prove since the legislature delineated an amount which makes you de facto “under the influence”

  41. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 2:50 pm:

    === The draws are not done “on the side of the road” has to be by doctor, nurse or licensed phlebotomist ===

    C’mon, read the freaking story. Some Decatur cops are phlebotomists. So, yes, side of the road is possible or even likely.

  42. - DecaturScn - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    I’m from Decatur and I support this. They also going to have officers specifically assigned to DUIs. Good.

  43. - uhoh - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    Normally, a search warrant would be issued as in (alcohol) DUIs if an accident, injury/death and the person refused, usually, if a person refuses a DUI (alcohol) breathalyzer test, they automatically lose their license for one year.
    Seems that marijuana will be treated the same way, if you refuse a blood test, it’s treated the same as refusing a breathalyzer.

    Hopefully, someone can figure invent a better option, such as a marijuana breathalyzer or even something like a cheek swab. But until then, if blood is the only way, than lets keep impaired drivers off our streets.

  44. - pc - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 3:30 pm:

    Unless the driver is unconscious or refuses to permit a saliva test, I don’t see this being constitutional in light of less invasive options

  45. - Downstate - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 3:35 pm:

    “can you be found culpable and under the influence when law enforcement gets a positive result of your blood from your casual use???”

    Any lawyer worth their salt will use the THC level to confer liability on you. I’m certain that insurance companies will start to put riders in their agreements that put all liability on you, if you test positive. Again, the blood tests won’t show when you consumed marijuana or how impaired you are.

  46. - Cent IL guy - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    Haven’t police departments been doing this type of testing out of a concern for driving under the influence of opiates and other prescription drugs that affect someone’s ability to drive? How do they test for the presence of oxycodone or Ambien? Or has that not been a concern? If not, why is marijuana motivating them to NOW?

  47. - obiter dictum - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 4:50 pm:

    “side of the road”. in entire state 10 officers are phlebotomist. yes, 4 in Macon. people who have refused have already been arrested. they are typically read the warning to motorist at the jail facility or state police substation. if they refuse the officer needs a warrant prior to doing a non consent blood draw. yes, the warrants can be done electronically. i would expect that most smaller counties will hire an “on call” Phlebotomist who will travel to the jail location upon request. At the jail, absolutely. At the side of the road, if the officer is a trained phlebotomist theoretically, but i still think not likely

  48. - Truthteller - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 4:52 pm:

    So aren’t DPD personnel not subject to random drug testing. Last time I looked it’s against their union contract to do so, as the case with majority of law enforcement.

  49. - Da Lobsta - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 5:14 pm:

    Can’t wait to see Super Troopers 3

  50. - Druid Eye - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 6:37 pm:

    Anonymous 71…..thank you.

  51. - Tired teacher - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 9:27 pm:

    Macon sheriff deputies have a reputation of excessive force and poor judgment. This does does not bode well

  52. - Techie - Wednesday, Dec 18, 19 @ 8:17 am:

    The reason this proposal is ridiculous is that there is no way of discerning whether or not a person is currently high or under the influence based on the contents of their blood. Canabinoids can stay in a person’s body and blood for weeks after use.

    A heavy user who is currently sober could easily have more canabinoids in their bloodstream than a light user who just got high 30 minutes ago.

    I understand the need to keep our roads safe, but this is not the way to do it.

    All of this is also beside the fact that driving while high is very different than driving while drunk. Several studies have shown that drivers under moderate influence of cannabis drive almost as well as sober drivers; one of the few differences is that they might not be able to “track” or stay in their lane as well.

    But point being, cannabis is not alcohol and you cannot try to treat them the same way.

  53. - Michael Milburn - Wednesday, Dec 18, 19 @ 9:58 am:

    No one should drive impaired, but actual impairment should be measured. We need a paradigm shift in our thinking about impairment testing. Please see:

    I have developed a new public health app that is an objective measure of impairment from cannabis or any source–anything that impairs reaction time, hand-eye coordination, balance and the ability to perform divided attention tasks–it is called DRUID (an acronym for “DRiving Under the Influence of Drugs”) available now in the App Store and in Google Play. DRUID statistically integrates hundreds of data points into an overall impairment score and takes just 2 minutes. The first peer-reviewed journal article validating DRUID is here (

    DRUID was featured on the PBS News Hour ( and in Wired magazine: Cannabis researchers at Yale, Johns Hopkins, WSU and UC Boulder are using DRUID in their labs. Research at Johns Hopkins shows that DRUID can distinguish different levels of impairment from different levels of THC consumed (0mg, 5mg, 20mg). This recent report from the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College lists DRUID as the only objective measure of impairment for the roadside: Our website is

    DRUID allows cannabis users (or others who drink alcohol, use prescription drugs, etc.) to self-assess their own level of impairment and (hopefully) decide against driving if they are impaired. Prior to DRUID, there was no way for an individual to accurately assess their own level of impairment.

    After obtaining my Ph.D. at Harvard, I have been a professor of psychology at UMass/Boston for the past 40 years, specializing in research methods, measurement and statistics.

    Michael Milburn, Professor (retired)
    Department of Psychology

  54. - Michael Feltes - Wednesday, Dec 18, 19 @ 9:54 pm:

    I left Decatur for the People’s Republic of Urbana 12 years ago and I’ve never been more grateful to live here than after reading that.

TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Pritzker thanks Abbott Labs - "Our rate of rise is looking less and less exponential" - Praises local groups for pitching in - Shoutout to #SpritzersWithPritzker - Dr. Ezike: "If you think you don't have a case in your zip code that's probably not actually the case" - Pritzker defends pending minimum wage hike - Still no date for IDES fix - Could come back in the fall - More testing in African-American areas - Curve not bending down yet - Will be posting PPE contracts online - Following Gov. Baker's lead on contact tracing - Dr. Ezike outlines DHS DD center readiness - Addresses federal halt to funding drive-through testing - "I think everybody needs to think seriously about canceling large summer events" - Plans to pursue workshare program
* 1,344 new cases, 66 additional deaths
* Ted E. Leverenz
* COVID-19 roundup
* Worst case scenario: "Illinois could lose more than $28 billion between calendar years 2020 and 2023"
* Today's heroes: Tony and Lisa Yuscius
* Question of the day
* The testing situation
* Still no word on when gig workers can access Illinois unemployment insurance
* *** UPDATED x1 *** National stockpile runs dry as feds stop supporting drive-through sites
* 6.6 million new jobless claims
* Open thread
* *** UPDATED x1 - 50 at Shapiro, 29 at Ludeman *** Several Murray Developmental Center residents, 1 staff test positive
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...










Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller