DCSO gets grant to get more drunks off roads | RecordCourier.com

DCSO gets grant to get more drunks off roads

Staff reports

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is celebrating a $1,750 state grant that could take more drunk drivers off local roads.

Department officials announced Tuesday that five new portable breath testing units have been installed in patrol cars to assist with field evaluations of drunken driving suspects. Previously, the department had three of the units.

Sgt. Lance Modispacher said the machines give a solid indication of whether alcohol is affecting a driver.

“There are individuals that become unsteady due to medication or illness, and we want to make sure before we take somebody out of their vehicle and to the jail that we know what we’re doing as far as determining if they are under the influence of alcohol,” he said. “This machine is a pretty useful tool.”

The machines are hand-held and measure the amount of alcohol in a suspect’s system based on a breath sample, indicating a probable passing or failing grade. Conclusive tests can then be conducted at the county jail.

Modispacher said the machines will be used in conjunction with other signs of potential intoxication that are observed, such as slurred speech, odor of alcohol on the breath and person of the driver, bloodshot and watery eyes and erratic driving.

Officers also administer various tests to assess a suspect’s balance, memory and coordination, which change with alcohol consumption.