March 28, 2019

Bill Introduced To Provide Law Enforcement With Drug Detection Devices | Beckley Register-Herald

Bipartisan legislation was introduced Wednesday to provide state and local law enforcement with high-tech devices to detect and identify dangerous drugs like fentanyl.  

The Providing Officers with Electronic Resources (POWER) Act would establish a new grant program through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to help state and local law enforcement organizations secure these high-tech, portable screening devices, the release said.

Without these devices, suspected drugs have to be sent to labs for testing, the release said, 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. 

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. 

“Our local law enforcement plays a vital role in efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, and one of the ways they are helping in these efforts is by detecting and stopping the flow of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids,” said U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., one of the sponsors of the bill. 

She said legislation like the POWER Act can truly save lives.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., another sponsor of the bill, said law enforcement officers are on the front lines of fighting back against this epidemic.

"It is very important that our officers have the best technologies possible to help find drugs like fentanyl so that they aren’t distributed to West Virginians struggling with addiction," Manchin said. "I am proud to introduce this bill with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, so that we can better stop this epidemic that has ravaged this country."

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. 



By:  Wendy Holdren