Police officers receive DUI training
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS CJ Yoder, an employee of the Towamencin Police Department in Lansdale, volunteered to be a "drinker" for a Standard Field Sobriety Testing training class for area police departments held at Lehigh Township Fire Company. Patrolman Bruce Hoffman of the Sayre Police Department of Bradford County puts her through an exercise that helped him determine her level of impaired ability and if she was over the legal limit for driving. Patrolman Tom Van Fleet (in the background) of the Athens Township Police Department observes and awaits his turn to conduct a field sobriety test.
CJ Yoder of Quakertown was asked to walk a straight line, take nine steps, count aloud, turn and walk back nine steps. Then she had to hold her leg out in front of her, while counting, starting with 1,001, 1,002 ...
Patrolman Bruce Hoffman of the Sayre Police Department of Bradford County was testing her for DUI.
Yoder had definitely been drinking alcoholic beverages and Patrolman Hoffman was trying to determine if she was under or over the legal BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) limit of .08.
Both of them were participating in the Standard Field Sobriety Testing training class held at the Lehigh Township Fire Company, being taught by the Institute for Law Enforcement Education (ILEE.)
BAC is a measurement of the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. It is used to define the level of intoxification of alcohol in ones body. This measurement is relevant for determining if a person may be guilty of drinking under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. If found guilty of a DUI, a person can be subject to imprisonment and serious fines.
BAC is measured by comparing mass per volume. One example of a BAC is .010 percent. This data means that one tenth of a percent in a person's blood contains alcohol. Naturally, the impairment of driving due to alcohol varies from person to person. The major cities in the U.S. apply the .08 and above BAC intoxification to determine that a person is guilty of DUI. It is then necessary that to avoid the violation, a person should not drive when his BAC level is within .08 or higher. It takes into account the gender, the number of drinks consumed (usually in per 12 ounce measurement), hours taken, and the body weight. Traffic enforcers use the more accurate device known as a breathalyzer which is an approved device to measure that BAC by breath.
According to Ashley Heiberger, staff instructor from ILEE, the training is more realistic if the "drinkers" in the training exercise have actually imbibed alcohol.
The drinking volunteers' BAC is based on gender, age and the amount of alcohol in the beverage they were drinking. The testees were dosed at different levels. After the officer in training tested the testee, the testee was given a breathalyzer reading.
There were 20 law enforcement officers from Lehigh, Northampton and other counties that participated in the training. Twenty people volunteered to consume alcohol and allowed officers to practically apply the techniques they learned and how to utilize them in the field of detection.
Frank Baranyai, Detective Lieutenant of the Cambridge Springs Police Department and Senior Staff Instructor for ILEE, says the training can help officers detect not just alcohol influence but also drug influence.
"Hopefully we will be able to remove more DUIs off the road," said Lt. Baranyai.
He said that from August 20 to September 6 there is a National Crackdown for the Labor Day holiday. Law enforcement agencies want to make drivers aware that police will be out enforcing DUI laws.
"We want the public to know that officers now have specialized training and we will be hunting down DUIs. The more people we get off the road, the less people there will be in the cemeteries," said Lt. Baranyai.