WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a news conference call to outline his bipartisan bill to help Ohio law enforcement officers detect fentanyl and protect themselves from accidental overdoses by using the same screening equipment Customs and Border Protection agents use to stop fentanyl at the border.
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.”
The POWER Act would establish a new grant program through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to help state and local law enforcement organizations obtain high tech, portable screening devices.
The devices would detect dangerous drugs and help protect officers from overexposure to deadly opioids like fentanyl. Last year, an East Liverpool police officer accidentally overdosed after brushing fentanyl residue off of his uniform. These devices are already widely used by federal law enforcement to identify dangerous drugs at U.S. ports of entry.
The devices could also help address the backlog of drugs awaiting laboratory identification which will allow law enforcement to more effectively conduct drug investigations and prosecutions.
Brown’s office worked closely with state and federal law enforcement to craft the POWER Act. Brown was joined on the call today by Cuyahoga Falls Chief of Police Jack Davis to offer his support of the legislation.
“It is no wonder that law enforcement has strongly endorsed this bill that is being presented by Senator Brown and Senator Portman. All of us have seen the destruction that these dangerous narcotics have created in our communities and every tool that we can make available to enhance safety for our first responders in fighting this epidemic should be made available,” said Chief Davis.
The POWER Act is supported by the National Sheriffs’ Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Federal Law Enforcement Officers 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, National Tactical Officers Association, Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association, and Ohio Fraternal Order of Police.