An Illinois police department will be among the first in the country to use a mouth swab drug-testing kit that can detect if motorists pulled over on suspicion of impairment have drugs in their system.
The suburban village of Carol Stream is slated to be the first municipality in the state – and one of only a few in the nation – to roll out the small and portable tests manufactured by German biotechnology company Protzek.
Tests – which will quickly determine the presence and amount of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines, and opiates such as heroin – will be performed on willing suspects who have already been arrested and who consent to testing. The results cannot be used against them in court.
The procedure for the test will go as follows: an officer will screen a driver who has been pulled over for cause using a mouth swab, which will then be tested by a mobile P.I.A.2 device. Subsequently, the device will produce measurements of a drug present in the driver’s system.
Officers in only four other states – Michigan, Kansas, Colorado and California – have similar tests at their disposal. Tests cost approximately $30 per kit and funding will come from existing DUI Tech funds.
That the test measures the amount of the drug’s presence and not merely detects it is significant because the state doesn’t recognize the presence of controlled substances alone as sufficient evidence of impairment. Marijuana, for example, can be detected for days after it is used even if its effects have worn off.
Sgt. Brian Cluever of the Carol Stream Police Department’s traffic and safety unit said the goal is to perform 50 to 100 sample tests. Cluever said if the testing is proven effective, it can hopefully be used by Carol Stream and throughout the state.
Since last year, the level of a driver’s impairment must cross a defined threshold before reaching illegality, necessitating more than just a mere positive or negative test result.
According to state law, a blood, urine or breath sample may be procured by police on suspicion that a driver is under the influence. In the coming months in Carol Stream, motorists suspected of being impaired will also be asked for a swab.
The department already is known for its aggressive drunk-driving enforcement. This, in part, is why Judicial Testing Systems, the company that distributes the system in Illinois, first approached Carol Stream police.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, for the first time, the number of drivers involved in fatal deaths who tested positive for drugs outpaced those who tested positive for alcohol.
Carol Stream authorities herald the Protzek test as a greater means of facilitating enforcement against driving under the influence.
“We want to give officers all the tools they need to make sure they’re making the right decisions and removing intoxicated drivers from the roads,” ” Cluever said. “Once we have proven this in court and it’s been proven in the scientific community to be accurate and reliable, then there’s no reason why it should not go statewide,” Cluever said.
Defense attorney Don Ramsell, who specializes in D.U.I. law, is skeptical of the new test.
“They might just as well hand somebody a bag of nachos and see if he eats it,” Ramsell said. “That’s just as valid.”
Ultimately, the courts will make the decision on the validity of the new test. In the meantime, the verdict is still out.
Article by Vincent Caruso and Benjamin Yount. For more Illinois News Network content, visit ILNews.org
Report: Gov. J.B. Pritzker under federal criminal investigation
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, his wife First Lady M.K. Pritzker, and others are under federal criminal investigation for a dubious residential property tax appeal that critics highlighted in last year’s gubernatorial race.
WBEZ first reported the federal probe, citing information from a law-enforcement source familiar with the investigation.
Pritzker’s attorney denied any wrongdoing.
“Neither the Governor nor the First Lady have been contacted by law enforcement regarding the property tax appeal,” Attorney Marc Elias said in an email to Illinois News Network. “We are confident that any further review of the matter will show that the appropriate rules were followed.”
Pritzker, whose net worth is estimated at $3.2 billion, paid back the more than $330,000 he got in tax breaks for removing the toilets to have a mansion he bought deemed uninhabitable. He paid back the money in October, days after a leaked report from a Cook County watchdog surfaced. A Cook County inspector general report about the 2015 tax break called it a “scheme to defraud” taxpayers.
Political opponents pounced on news of the federal probe.
“Gov. Pritzker should immediately abandon his push for this massive jobs tax on middle-class families because he can’t expect people to pay more when he is reportedly under criminal investigation for gaming the system to pay less,” Ideas Illinois Chairman Greg Baise said.
Ideas Illinois has been opposing the governor’s proposed progressive income tax.
“The governor likes to call his push for more taxes ‘fair’ but it’s clear he knows nothing about fairness or equity – he needs to drop his push for this Jobs Tax that will only hurt middle-class families even further,” Baise said.
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider compared Pritzker’s decision to pay back the $331,000 to a bank robber returning stolen money after getting caught.
“Just because he gave the money back means nothing to me,” Schneider said in an interview. “He schemed to defraud the taxpayers of the county. He technically took money out the school system, to pay for our cops, to further burden other taxpayers because he didn’t pay his fair share.”
Schneider also said he was glad the investigation was being looked at by federal officials.
“I’ve seen silence on the part of the Cook County State’s Attorney,” Schneider said of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. “I think she botched the Jussie Smollett case and we don’t even know if she’s investigating this on the Cook County level and I’m grateful that the feds have picked up the batton on this case.”
Pritzker could be asked to comment on the story when he is in front of reporters later this morning.
WBEZ reported that it wasn’t clear if any criminal charges were imminent; it also reported that “the scope and intensity of the federal investigation is not entirely clear.”
Article by Greg Bishop with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org
Springfield Police tell residents: lock your cars
Springfield is dealing with a city-wide issue of cars being broken into. From the 13th to the 16th, 35 cars were broken into. These incidents happened all over the city. Chief Winslow was asked to discuss this situation at last night’s city council meeting.
Winslow had a very simple message for Springfield residents: lock your cars. Although some of the incidents did involve breaking a car’s window, the overwhelming majority did not. 30 of the 35 break-ins were to unlocked vehicles. Thieves were simply checking the handles of cars to find ones that were unlocked. This is not to excuse the criminal activity, but locking your doors is a key step for your protection.
He went on to say that valuables should not be stored in vehicles; and if they must be, they should be out of sight. If thieves do not see anything worth stealing, they will be much less likely to break in. In addition to items like phones and GPS units, garage door openers are items that are often stolen. Once a thief has the garage door opener, the home becomes vulnerable to burglary as well.
The police are still working to catch those individuals responsible for the break-ins. Five individuals have been arrested, but it is believed that there are many more still out there. Suspects include both juveniles and adults. If you see something suspicious, call the dispatch number 217-788-8311. Don’t call your local police officer in these situations; they may not be on duty and so will not answer right away. If you have other information, especially pictures or video, share it with the police. Just putting it on social media will not ensure the police get access to it.
Take the time to make sure your doors are locked. This is a city-wide issue, and it will take a city-wide effort to deal with it.