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Hwy Patrol officers draw blood of suspects!

Discussion in 'Legal' started by CentralTexas, Jan 24, 2006.

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  1. CentralTexas

    CentralTexas Member

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    http://kutv.com/topstories/local_story_029164221.html

    UHP Troopers Learn to Draw Blood From Suspects
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    Some Utah Highway Patrol troopers are becoming medically certified to draw blood from motorists they suspect of driving while intoxicated.

    Blood tests are necessary because portable breath tests only detect alcohol, not drugs or other possible intoxicants, said Sgt. Lee Perry, with the Weber County office of the Highway Patrol.

    Without the medical certification, troopers now must either take a suspect to a hospital or call in a certified technician to stick a needle in the suspect's arm and take a small sample. Every time a trooper does that, it costs the Highway Patrol $50 or $60.

    Perry said that costs about $25,000 per year.

    Eventually, about 65 troopers will be trained throughout the state in the nominal medical procedures needed to take blood.

    A Federal Highway Safety Administration grant provided the funds to hire the Utah School of Phlebotomy to teach troopers how to do it.

    Beth Anderson, president of the school, said the compressed four-session course certifies the troopers as phlebotomists, legally and medically able to safely take a blood sample.

    The course even teaches troopers how to get used to the idea of sticking someone with a needle, which isn't always that easy, she said.

    ``The thing is, you've got to get over that mental state of going in through some guy's skin,'' she said. ``Then you hold (the vein) so it doesn't roll, and you're in there.''

    Instruction also includes patient care, confidentiality, and what to watch for if the subject is about to collapse at the idea of being stuck.

    The troopers actually poke each other with the needles for practice in the classes _ eight sticks per trooper at each of the four.

    By the end, the dozen troopers in an early first class sported arms flecked with bruises and needle marks.

    The certified troopers will not receive any extra pay for taking the classes or drawing blood.

    ___

    Information from: Standard-Examiner, http://www.standard.net
     
  2. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    This sure beats the old method of shooting the suspects and then soaking some blood up in a rag for analysis.
     
  3. scubie02

    scubie02 Member

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    I think that its a somewhat alarming trend that we are moving in as far as taking "samples" when someone has contact with the legal system--not found guilty, just taken in or whatever. With all of the Human Genome Stuff going on and advances, I see it as a privacy issue to NOT have my DNA on file with the government--its somewhat alarming that the government WANTS to have everyone's DNA on file--Big Brother at its finest. Then they mention how they want the power to "quarantine part of the population when necessary"...so what's to say they decide your DNA shows you are more susceptible to catching the latest Bird Flu, and as a precaution lets just round up those folks and keep them in a camo for awhile...

    In this particular case, I wouldn't want to be the cop having to take a blood sample from some of the dirtbags they regularly encounter either.

    The country's just going to hell in a handbasket faster and faster...*sigh*

    wish there was still a frontier to move to...
     
  4. K-Romulus

    K-Romulus Member

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    don't you still need a warrant?

    Before they poke someone with a needle and extract their bodily tissue "for law enforcement purposes,":rolleyes: I thought the police needed a real-live search warrant.:confused:
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2006
  5. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    Warrants? :neener: You're living in the "Old America" friend. In the "New America" they don't need no stinkin warrants.
     
  6. c_yeager

    c_yeager Member

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    Yeah, and about %80 of that is the actual lab test, which they still have to pay for regardless of who draws the blood.

    I think they might run into problems with this. I realize that phlebotomy isnt very hard, and that it pays just slightly higher than minimum wage, but when a jury looks at a cop they really dont see someone that they think should be sticking needles into people.
     
  7. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    K-Rom, do you mean for the driver or for the vehicle?

    Since motor vehicles are mobile, agile and hostile, they are outside the warrant requirement. Po-po needs probable cause to toss the vehicle (or, if smarter, arrest the driver and get the free search with the inventory).

    For the driver, usually the cops have either consent or a medical reason as in after an accident (depends on state statute), or get a telephone warrant if they have probable cause for an OWI arrest.
     
  8. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    c yeager, come on now, just smart bureaucrats padding their budgets.

    Save money by growing your own budget! Very slick.:D
     
  9. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Member

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    Um, don't know what state your from but in PA you don't need a warrant to draw blood as long as the driver consents. If the driver doesn't consent, then you will need a warrant, however I've never seen anyone do this. If during a stop for suspicion of DUI, the driver refuses, they atuomatically loose their license for 1 year. If found guilty of DUI (with a refusal) they could face 3 years in jail plus a hefty fine.
     
  10. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Judge: "Mr. Prosecutor, your first witness."
    Prosecutor: "At this time, the State calls Trooper Dracula."
    Judge: "Raise your right hand and swear or affirm that everything you testify to is true."
    Trooper: "Blah, I vant to suck your blood.":D
     
  11. c_yeager

    c_yeager Member

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    I know its funny, but this could lead to some problems. When a jury looks at a document from a hospital that document attests to the fact that the blood that was tested came from the person that is being tried. The jury sees a hospital as an impartial and proffessional third party. Juries are willing to accept that the police will conspire to put a person in jail, they have a harder time seeing that a medical facility would participate in that conspiracy. Taking the third-party out of the equation can hurt the credibility of case.
     
  12. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    c yeager, I agree with your assessment. I could not help myself.:evil:
     
  13. WYO

    WYO Member

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    The article is not entirely clear, but this could be for purposes of testing under the state's implied consent law. Implied consent laws usually allow the officer to pick the test to be administered, whether breath, blood or urine, after the person has been arrested for DUI. Because drawing blood is invasive, the person must be certified to draw the blood. This appears to allow the officers to become certfied to draw blood. Implied consent laws are civil in nature and generally do not allow testing if the driver refuses to submit. The usual penalty for failure to submit is suspension of the driver's license.

    There are times when warrantless blood draws are permitted under a 4th amendment analysis, usually under an exigent circumstances exception. An example could be loss of evidence in a matter involving death or serious bodily injury due to decreasing BAC levels while a warrant were obtained. Otherwise, a warrant is needed. (e.g. a test to determine blood type)

    Unless I am missing something here, the certification of troopers doesn't change the law in any way, just the mechanics of administering the tests.

    c_yeager's analysis goes to the weight of the evidence and not the legality of obtaining it.
     
  14. pcf

    pcf Member

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    Officer safety

    It's all about officer safety.
    "Terry frisk" to check for hidden weapons.
    "Protective sweeps" to check for hidden guest.

    and now, "Officers drawing blood from criminals, who always happen to be clean and healthy individuals, to save a few bucks" in the interest of officer safety.
     
  15. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Member

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    Most states have in the provisions for drivers licensing that the driver agrees to submit to chemical testing of his blood if he is suspected of DUI. If he refuses, he loses his license for one year or more.

    If the driver refuses, and it is thought necessary by the police to obtain a sample of blood for chemical testing, the courts have recognized an emergency exception to obtaining a warrant because the evidence is being lost through normal biological process and the time needed to get the warrant would cause the loss of evidence and would jeopardize prosecution. This normally only occurs when the DUI suspect was in a traffic accident that caused death or severe bodily injury.

    What the emergency exception means is that three or four big guys sit on the suspect's chest and legs while the blood is drawn in a 'medically accepted' manner.

    Pilgrim
     
  16. Molon Labe

    Molon Labe Member

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    A better idea is to make every adult over 18 wear a portable blood monitoring system around-the-clock. The unit would continuously send data (via the cellular phone system) containing each person's drugs and alcohol content to a central database. An integral GPS receiver would send data containing the location of the guilty party.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2006
  17. scubie02

    scubie02 Member

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    yeah, I love that whole "you have a right to refuse...of course, then we suspend your license"--real nice. Geezes what a state we have fallen into.

    And I will clarify--I do not drive drunk. It just wouldn't happen. But I would have a problem if I got pulled over and the guy said "you looked like you crossed the yellow line back there (maybe you saw a deer at the side of the road and you slowed down and drifted over a bit since there was no approaching traffic to give yourself a little more wiggle room, but the cop didn't notice) I'm afraid I'm going to need a blood sample..."--screw that!

    I wish there was a free country to move to somewhere. :(
     
  18. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Interesting that the state of Utah is trying this because it saves money.

    I doubt that most of the state troopers are very enthusiastic about this; in fact, I'd bet there's gonna be some real grumbling, and let's see how their union handles this. Big difference between having a motorist you've pulled over blow into the straw sticking out of your little PBA and actually having to sit down with that motorist and spend quite a bit more time drawing blood (at two a.m. on a cold Utah mountain highway). We'll see how happy the troopers are about having to get a bit more up close and personal when they pull someone over for a deuce ...

    Even people who have to draw blood as part of their job aren't real enthusiastic about doing it.
     
  19. progunner1957

    progunner1957 member

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    No freaking way!!!

    Ask someone with scleroderma about getting blood drawn - the vessels are surrounded with connective tissue that a healthy person does not have, making it extremely difficult for even a professional RN to get a blood draw.

    The veins are hardened by the connective tissue and are very difficult to penetrate with a needle, as they roll away from the needle. Along with it comes excruitiating pain (I know from personal experience). A local anistetic cream must be applied, which takes an hour to permeate the skin and take effect in order for a blood draw to be accomplished. Sometimes a Lidocaine injection is required.

    So a person with scleroderma is supposed to let a LEO dig around in his/her arm with a needle and tear the crap out of them while trying to hit a vein that an RN with years of training and years of on-the-job experience can hardly get?

    I don't think so.

    If they decide to beat their baby-makers on their chests and do it by force, both me and my attorney will be rich men.

    Bottom line: LEOs have no business doing this. Not in a supposedly free nation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2006
  20. HighVelocity

    HighVelocity Member

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    If I were pulled over on the hwy and told that I had to provide a blood sample I would refuse. Go ahead and arest me if you have to but an officer on the side of the road isn't going to do stick a needle in me. Period.
     
  21. ball3006

    ball3006 Member

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    Drawing a blood sample is not that hard....

    I have it done every month for cholestrol checks. The only time it is difficult is when the person is fat, and you can't see the vessel. I remember reading about this program in the paper. The program has a judge on 24 hour call to immediately issue a warrant if needed. That base is covered. With the amount of drunks on the road, I think it is a good idea. If those idiots, the drunks, would just drive home it would not be so bad but, well, you know........chris3
     
  22. mfree

    mfree Member

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    And what happens the first time you do something like swerve to avoid a piece of metal in the road and an officer pulls you over for DUI, even though you're a stone-cold sober teetotaller?

    He's comin' for blood....
     
  23. DRZinn

    DRZinn Member

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    Unreasonable:

    Main Entry: un·rea·son·able
    Pronunciation: -'rEz-n&-b&l, -'rE-z&n-&-b&l
    Function: adjective

    1. drawing blood based on a officer's suspicion.

    ex:The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
     
  24. Shield529

    Shield529 Member

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    It's not going to work quite that way. The officer would need to be be to convince the judge issuing the warrant that PC exists. I.E. odor of intoxicants, failed field testing, open containers ETC. Not just a swerve.
    That said this is stupid. It is be no means practical, sanitary, or safe. There is no way in hell they would convince me to perform this practice, if for no other reason than LIABILITY!!! the first time trooper A misses a vain and causes damage when suspect B decides to get froggy its time for Federal Court. The first infection due to dirty roadside conditions, Federal Court.
    This state is easy I ask you to take the test. You say no the conversation ends I book you and license is gone for 6-30 months. No injury no lawsuit.
     
  25. XD_fan

    XD_fan Member

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    Aside from the sanitary issues and allowing someone to stick you that isn't properly trained and certified as a phleboist, what about the chain of custody? Dracula draws your blood and then what? This is such a bad idea with so many holes in it it isn't even funny.
     
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