Is Your Department Using Hand-Held Narcotics Analyzers?

With the use of narcotics steadily on the rise in the U.S., more law enforcement agencies are starting to use handheld narcotics analyzers. The simple to use yet highly sophisticated devices can help speed up the legal process, while at the same time helping departments to significantly reduce the cost of testing.

Traditional Narcotics Testing
For decades officers had two options with regard to narcotics analysis. The first was to use a wet chemistry field test. The second involved sending a blood sample to a large and very expensive laboratory along with highly experienced and costly technicians to run the tests and determine the presence of any narcotics and the amount of each in the subject’s blood. Along with being very expensive, lab testing could take several days until the results were returned.

Enter the handheld narcotics analyzer, a simple to use, yet highly accurate device that will allow law enforcement officers, border control officers, customs agents, and many other forms of law enforcement to successfully test for the presence of narcotics using the Raman spectroscopy method.

Safer and Widespread Use
This is a much safer method of testing and is far more accurate than the old wet chemistry field test kit. On top of this, the device can test for the presence of multiple narcotics at the same time. Something the wet chemistry test cannot handle. The devices are currently in use by over 75% of the states and in more than three dozen other countries around the globe. LEOs all agree that these devices allow them to remove suspected drug offenders from the streets more quickly, prioritize their lab needs, and help to reduce costs, all at the same time.

An example of how much the handheld analyzer has already been proven to make a difference is the Phoenix, AZ police department. For decades the city has been plagued with huge case backlogs due to the ever-increasing number of cases and the spiraling costs of laboratory testing. All this on top of the many other challenges involved in successfully prosecuting most drug cases.

After successfully completing a pilot program, the city currently has 20 different drugs approved for field testing using the handheld unit. Not only has this helped to speed up the entire process from start to finish, but it has also helped increase the number of successful prosecutions and helped to reduce cost.

No More Chain of Custody Worries
One of the hardest parts of obtaining a successful conviction is maintaining the proper chain of custody of testing samples from the moment they are collected until they are tested at the lab. By instituting the use of handheld analyzers, every sample and the results are secured using a tamperproof data storage method. The only way the information can be deleted from the device is for it to be connected to the appropriate administrative software. The evidence collected is perfectly safe and can be introduced as evidence, helping to secure a conviction. When you look at the cost savings, the faster turnaround on results, and the increase in valid conviction rates, it won’t be long before all officers are equipped with these devices.

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