PADUCAH, Ky -
Mouth swabs- through a $25,000 grant, the Paducah Police Department will start using the swabs as part of a drug testing kit. The mayor authorized the grant at Tuesday night's city commission meeting. The police department is one of three in the state to receive a grant like this. It's 100 percent funded through the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety and will run for 10 months.
But it's a test run that could grant police a different way to handle DUI's.
Paducah Police Department Assistant Chief, Brian Krueger says he's encouraged by the prospects of the grant, "I'm always kind of interested in developing new ways of doing things."
The department is the first in the area to test this method to see if it can keep the streets safer by swabbing drivers for drugs, "I'm actually kind of curious to see how this unfolds," says Krueger. He says this could potentially be a way to reduce the amount of time it takes to test for drugs.
But defense attorney, Andrew Coiner says these swabs are not admissible in court- drivers would have to sign a release form before submitting to the test. Coiner says, "You can refuse to take the swab and there are no criminal or driver licenses consequences to go along with that."
He also questions the accuracy of the tests, "Who knows if they're going to match up with the actual blood test when people provide blood tests... Its just a $25,000 science experiment."
The swabs are simply a trial. They cannot be used in court. If you are pulled over with a DUI and your blood is taken- they'll ask if you want to submit to the saliva test. You would then sign a waiver saying you understand its simply for research purposes. It's the toxicology labs that would then compare your blood and saliva samples. As for how that information is used- that hasn't been decided.
The tests take about 3 minutes and will be sent to a lab for testing. They'll only be used for those who consent.