During the past 15 years, most large law-enforcement agencies in Arizona have moved from using Breathalyzers in favor of using blood to determine alcohol levels, reports the Arizona Republic. And a federal grant is allowing more small and midsize police forces to put officers through a five-day course to learn the art of phlebotomy. The grant allowed the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to put about 170 officers through the program this year and 100 last year. The money is part of a $4.5 million grant package the state annually receives because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The state requires officers to draw blood from 100 patients successfully as part of the training. They must maintain their qualification with a minimum of 24 blood-draws each year. Tucson attorney James Nesci, who wrote a book about DUI defense in Arizona, sees problems in the trend. “In Florida, they can’t draw blood, period. In places like California, it’s the motorists’ choice on what type of test to take. In Arizona, it’s the cop’s choice.” He noted, “You need a license to cut hair in Arizona, but you don’t need a license to puncture a vein and draw blood. That in and of itself is frightening.”