DA Wants Drug-Testing Machine
Catawba County, NC, District Attorney Jay Gaither and state Sen. Austin Allran (R) have teamed up to propose a bill that would help law enforcement agencies in the county purchase technology that determines the authenticity of drugs.
The technology, called NarTest, can determine the authenticity of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and heroin in about 10 to 15 minutes. The determination is then used as evidence against those facing drug charges.
Law enforcement agencies currently send drugs to the State Bureau of Investigation’s lab for testing, which can take at least a year.
“The time that it takes from arrest to conviction in drug cases is far too long due to the fact that we are waiting on lab results on the drugs,” Gaither said. “This technology will give my office the ability to move much more quickly. This means less money spent on inmates waiting in our local jail and less time for drug dealers who are out on bond to spend out on our streets.”
The technology is already making a difference for police departments in North Carolina that use it, according to Douglas Branch, marketing director for NarTest Technologies. He noted that these departments have seen at least a 10 percent reduction in the number of cases submitted to the state lab.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Hickory Daily Record (04/07/07); Menster, Jennifer.