A new bill in the United States Senate hopes to better protect law enforcement from accidental drug overdoses.
The bipartisan bill would give officers access to high-tech drug screening devices. The same used by federal agents.
It’s called the POWER act. According to Senator Sherrod Brown: The bill would give state and local law enforcement the devices, paid for through a grant from the Justice Department.
Brown explains: the devices help detect dangerous drugs and protect officers from exposure to deadly opioids like fentanyl.
Moraine Police Sgt Jon Spencer says accidental overdoses by police and first responders is worrisome.
“So obviously with the rise of the heroin epidemic of the last couple of years, it’s actually a really big, growing concern of ours as first responders. not just law enforcement – but obviously your medics and fire personnel also,” Spencer siad.
“It’s usually few and far between but obviously the risk is there. It’s not just the fentanyl it’s anything from the needles that people use to the weapons that people have on them.”
The screening devices are already in use by Customs and Border Protection agents.
The president signed a similar bill to give the devices to federal officers, earlier this year.
“Obviously technology is trying to catch up to the trend,” Spencer said. “It’s always going to be a little bit behind, no matter what. But anything they can do to make our job safer, I’m always in favor of.”