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Georgia officers to learn to draw blood for DUI cases

August 22, 2021 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — A new grant will be used to train Georgia law enforcement officers to draw blood from drivers suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, state officials said.

The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety says it has received an impaired driving grant of about $44,000 that it plans to use to establish a phlebotomy program. The agency says the funds will pay for training of state and local officers as well as for blood-drawing equipment.

The agency says that training officers to draw blood will help in the prosecution of DUI cases because it will provide critical toxicology evidence.

“A blood test is often the key piece of evidence needed to convict a DUI driver in court, but the barriers law enforcement officers are facing in getting blood drawn during a DUI investigation are resulting in too many of these cases going to trial without any toxicology evidence,” Allen Poole, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, said in a news release.

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Getting blood evidence as soon as possible provides a more accurate measure of a driver’s blood alcohol level, the agency said. And if officers can perform the blood draws themselves, they don’t have to wait around for someone to do it and can return to patrolling more quickly.

The training for officers is set to include 10 hours of online training and 32 hours of classroom training. After completing the program, the officers will have the same qualifications as phlebotomists in hospitals, doctors’ offices and other licensed medical facilities.

The grant was awarded by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.