Download production-quality b-roll of screening device demonstration HERE.
DAYTON, OH – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl to outline his bipartisan bill to provide Ohio law enforcement officers high-tech devices to detect and identify dangerous drugs like fentanyl.
The Providing Officers with Electronic Resources, or POWER Act, gives Ohio law enforcement officers access to the same high-tech screening devices Brown secured for Customs and Border Protection agents in his INTERDICT Act. President Trump signed INTERDICT into law earlier this year. The POWER Act is cosponsored by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH).
“Law enforcement officers are on the frontlines of our efforts to combat illegal fentanyl,” said Brown. “Following our success in securing new screening devices for federal law enforcement agents earlier this year, we need to give Ohio officers the same tools to address Ohio’s opioid epidemic and protect themselves from dangerous drugs like fentanyl.”
Brown’s office worked closely with state and federal law enforcement to craft the POWER Act. Brown was joined today by Chief Biehl to discuss efforts by law enforcement to combat the opioid epidemic in Ohio and how handheld screening devices would help officers on the front lines of this crisis.
“Despite a reduction in overdose incidents and deaths with fentanyl as a contributing factor….fentanyl continues to be a risk to the law enforcement community in both day to day work and interdiction efforts,” said Chief Biehl.
These devices are already used by federal law enforcement to identify dangerous drugs at U.S. ports of entry. The devices use laser technology to analyze potentially harmful substances - even through some packaging - and identify those substances based on a library of thousands of compounds that are categorized within the device.
The devices would also help address the backlog of drugs awaiting laboratory identification which will allow law enforcement to more effectively conduct drug investigations and prosecutions and crack down on drug trafficking. Without these devices, suspected drugs have to be sent to labs for testing - which can take months in some cases, delaying the justice system. And because the devices can quickly and effectively alert officers to dangerous substances in the field, they also help ensure officers can test and handle substances like fentanyl safely.
Instant results also allow officers to quickly alert local health departments and others when fentanyl is found in a community so they can notify known users and help prevent accidental overdoses.
The POWER Act is supported by the National Sheriffs’ Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio Fraternal Order of Police Major Cities Chiefs Association, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association, National Association of Police Organizations, National HIDTA Directors Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association, International Union of Police Associations, National Narcotics Officers’ Associations’ Coalition, National Alliance of State Drug Enforcement Agencies, and National Tactical Officers Association.
More information on the bill can be found here.