March 27, 2019

Manchin Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Help Law Enforcement Better Detect Fentanyl

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, led a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Providing Officers with Electronic Resources (POWER) Act to create a program through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that would provide state and local law enforcement with devices, similar to what federal law enforcement use on the U.S.-Mexico border to increase the accuracy of detecting fentanyl and other dangerous drugs.

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.

“There is no question that West Virginia has been hit hard by the dangerous drugs like fentanyl and our 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. 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,” said Senator Manchin.

The bill is also co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Rob Portman (R-OH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Ed Markey (D-MA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

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.