Law Enforcement Support

Mission Moment – April 2020

A drugged driver killed my parents.  Oral fluid roadside testing will save lives and save more families from that pain.
By Brian Swift

In 2013, a logging truck barreled through a red light and slammed into my parents’ car, killing my father instantly. My sister and I waited in anguish as my mother struggled to stay alive; she died three days later. This kind of selfish act is the worst kind of violence because somebody else chooses your fate for you. If losing my parents wasn’t enough, most victims like me battle with the prosecutor’s office just to get a trial. In our case, the driver would eventually be convicted and sentenced to a mere five years for his crimes. The suffering inflicted on my family can never be undone – cutting short my parents’ lives and others like them has to STOP!

The driver that killed my parents had THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in his system. Tragically, the number of people hitting the road high on drugs — from marijuana and cocaine to heroin and prescription medicine — is increasing. We have the technology to reduce impaired driving and give law enforcement the tools they need to get these people off our roads.

Following the death of my parents, my sister Patti and I advocated for change in Michigan and the legislators listened. More importantly, they acted. Public Act 242 and 243 of 2016, otherwise known as the Barbara J. and Thomas J. Swift Law, initiated an oral fluid drug testing pilot in five Michigan counties in November of 2018. In February of 2019, officials released the results of the five-county pilot to the legislature as required by the law. They were remarkable. Eighty-eight of the 92 results collected at the roadside were later confirmed by an independent laboratory or blood test. Based on the success of the initial program, it was expanded into a statewide effort in October 2019.

Under the pilot program, a DRE may require a person to submit to a preliminary oral fluid analysis to detect the presence of a controlled substance in the driver’s body if the DRE suspects the driver is impaired by drugs. Refusal to submit to a preliminary oral fluid analysis upon a lawful demand of a police officer is a civil infraction. The device that MSP chose for the pilot is the SoToxa Mobile Test System made by Abbott. This handheld device can test for six classes of drugs in oral fluid including THC (cannabis), cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, opiates, and benzodiazepines. SoToxa was chosen for Michigan’s pilot program because it is portable (necessary for roadside use), accurate, easy to use, and produces rapid test results.

Not surprisingly, cannabis was found to be the most prevalent drug found by the roadside testing program which aligns with national fatality data and roadside surveys. While oral fluid testing has been piloted numerous times in multiple states, the enactment of this law was groundbreaking because it was the first time that a state legislature mandated and funded a pilot. It is now considered a model that other states should replicate. The oral fluid swab does not substitute the 12-step drug evaluation that DREs are trained to perform on suspected drugged drivers. Oral fluid screening is a tool that can enhance current practice, not replace it.

More than 50 law enforcement agencies and over 100 DREs from around Michigan are actively participating in the pilot which is set to conclude this fall. The results of the second pilot will be reported by the end of 2020.

Our next step is to work with a coalition of committed stakeholders to make Michigan’s law and oral fluid program permanent in all 83 counties and expand the use of this technology to all law enforcement agencies. It is my hope that every state in the country will recognize the tremendous life-saving potential of roadside oral fluid testing. I am committed to educating and working with policymakers to make this a reality.

Many special interest groups will use fear tactics to condemn these devices just as they did with the breathalyzer. Rest assured, law enforcement is our front line and protects us from drivers who have no regard for anybody but themselves and create carnage on our roads. With your help, we can reduce the number of injuries and fatalities caused by these irresponsible drivers.

Guest Author – Jan 2020

All Drunk Drivers are High Risk

This year Mothers Against Drunk Driving is celebrating our 40th anniversary. MADD’s impact since our founding in 1980 is undeniable. MADD started a cultural revolution that made drunk driving unacceptable. MADD was THE grass roots organization who lead the way reducing drunk driving deaths in half from approximately 22,000 deaths in 1980 to 10,511 fatalities in 2018. MADD achieved this result thanks to our ardent network of victims, volunteers, traffic safety partners, and law enforcement officers like you. But our work is far from over. MADD will not be satisfied until we have a nation of No More Victims.

You are MADD’s Heroes, a title we give to the most dedicated enforcers of traffic impairment laws. Drunk driving is no accident. It is a choice. Anyone who is impaired, regardless of the reading on the breathalyzer, is a high-risk threat to every officer on patrol and every driver, every pedestrian, every life, they encounter. We know that every time you leave your home, every time you perform a traffic stop, your life is at risk. MADD supports you. MADD is here for you. MADD will fight for you and work to get the resources you need to do your jobs.

Unfortunately, we still fight misperceptions perpetuated by the alcohol industry that threaten the progress we have made toward ending this crime. Most recently, the alcohol industry funded a report released in December 2019 that calls for an emphasis on rehabilitating drunk drivers who are convicted with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 and above. The report labeled those drivers as “high risk.” Specifically, the report recommended “moving away from a conviction-centered approach” for the worst of offenders, which it called “cookie-cutter justice”, and instead dedicate resources to treatment and aftercare.

I don’t have to explain to patrol officers who work the streets and highways every day that ALL drunk drivers are high risk drunk drivers. MADD’s former National President, Jan Withers, lost her daughter, Alisa Joy, to a drunk driver with a BAC of .08.

Classifying drunk drivers as “high-risk” or “hard core” is a tired debate that was settled nearly 15 years ago. In 2006, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety issued a report, which said “… the hard-core group isn’t the whole DWI problem or even the biggest part, so it doesn’t make sense to focus too narrowly on this group. The result is to overlook a lot of other impaired drivers who escape the definition of hard core.” The December 2019 report even acknowledges that its rebranded thesis was originally argued by the alcohol industry two decades ago. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past.

America does not require definitions. We need solutions. Drunk driving is the Number 1 killer on America’s roads. We must remove the impaired driver from the road. Patrols save lives. Traffic stops save lives. DUI arrests save lives. If District Attorneys and Courts recognize drunk driving as a violent crime, then there would be no discussion about “high-risk” offenders. Arresting impaired drivers is not “cookie-cutter justice”, but rather a moral and just cause, saving innocent lives by enforcing the law to its fullest extent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average drunk driver has driven drunk at least 80 times before they are caught. You know this, because you’ve seen it. Drunk driving killed 10,511 people in 2018, which is 29% of all traffic fatalities. Drunk driving is THE leading cause of traffic fatalities. Furthermore, a shocking number of law enforcement officers are killed by drunk drivers while performing routine traffic stops. Ask the nearly 1 million victims of drunk driving and they will tell you, a driver with .08 BAC is just as dangerous as a driver with a .15 BAC. Impairment is impairment and impairment kills.

MADD’s mission is to eliminate the 100% preventable, violent crime of drunk and drugged driving. Senseless debates over “high-risk” drunk drivers were resolved 20 years ago when America adopted .08 as its national standard.

MADD is committed to creating a nation of NO MORE VICTIMS, but we cannot do it alone. MADD, its victims, volunteers, and constituents need you. MADD can pass great laws, but without you, it is all wasted effort. Patrols prevent crimes. Patrols matter. DUI arrests matter. MADD needs you to stay vigilant and to keep the pressure on ALL drunk drivers through high-visibility enforcement and DUI checkpoints. MADD is back and MADD has your back. Now and always. Thank you for keeping our communities safe and stay safe out there

Officer of the Month – April 2020

MADD April Law Enforcement Support Newsletter – Officer of the Month
Lieutenant Don Marose - Minnesota State Patrol

Lieutenant Don Marose retired from the Minnesota State Patrol on April 3, 2020.  At the time of his retirement Don was the statewide DRE/SFST/Phlebotomy Coordinator.  He served with the State Patrol for nearly 32 years.  He worked the freeways in Minnesota for the first 14 years of his career, working the overnight shift where he arrested and removed many impaired drivers from the roadways.  He also supervised the Executive Protection/Capitol Security Division from 2011 to 2013.

Lieutenant Marose is a nationally known expert on impaired driving.  He helped coordinate and start Minnesota’s Phlebotomy Program which was one of the first in the nation.  He has taught numerous DRE/ARIDE classes throughout Minnesota, around the United States and Canada.

Lieutenant Marose has served on the MADD Minnesota Advisory Board since 2011 and has been its chair since 2013.  He helps plan and coordinate MADD’s yearly statewide Law Enforcement Recognition and annual Walk Like MADD events.  Don has been married to his wife Kathy for 8 years.  He has two stepdaughters and five grandchildren.

MADD is proud to recognize and honor Lieutenant Don Marose as its April Officer of the Month.  We also thank him for his many years of service to the citizens of Minnesota.  We wish Don the best for a long and happy retirement.

MADD extends our deepest condolences to the agencies and families who have lost officers and loved ones in the line of duty

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Ottawa Police Department (IL)

Patrol Officer Brian Sember died from complications as the result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty. Officer Sember was a United States…

East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office (LA)

Sergeant Nick Tullier succumbed to injuries sustained six years earlier when he was ambushed by a subject outside a convenience store at 9611 Airline…

Vestavia Hills Police Department (AL)

Police Officer Darryl Fortner died from complications as the result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty. Officer Fortner had served with the…

Knox County Sheriff’s Office (IL)

Deputy Sheriff Nick Weist was struck and killed by a vehicle as he deployed spike strips during a vehicle pursuit of an armed subject….

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office (IN)

Deputy Sheriff Doug Sanford died from complications as the result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty. Deputy Sanford was assigned as the…

Cayce Police Department (SC)

Police Officer Drew Barr was shot and killed as he and other officers responded to a domestic disturbance call at a home on Rossmore…

Ohio County Sheriff’s Office (KY)

Deputy Sheriff Jerry Critchelow died five days after suffering a heart attack while directing traffic on Route 231 in front of Ohio County High…

Franklin Police Department (TN)

Police Officer II Jeff Carson suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after moving a heavy couch from the travel lanes of I-65 near Cool…

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (CO)

K9 Jinx was shot and killed when responding to a call of a person brandishing a firearm at the 900 block of Manitou Avenue…

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office (NC)

K9 Major was shot and killed while attempting the apprehension of an armed robbery suspect in Granville County, North Carolina. A subject involved in…

For a complete listing of Officers lost in the line of duty, please visit: www.odmp.org

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