The City of Delaware Police Department recently received approval to begin using a new drug-testing device in conjunction with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
The device, called a MX908, is a hand-held mass spectrometer used to analyze suspected drugs that law enforcement say will streamline the process of prosecuting a drug case because it returns results faster than traditional methods.
“(The MX908) increases the turn around on results,” said City of Delaware Police Capt. Adam Moore. “In the past, officers obtained a presumptive test with a test kit in the field. The suspected substance was then transported to (the Bureau of Criminal Investigation) lab in London, Ohio, and the wait for test results started. Now, with the MX908, testing is local (Marion), and results can be returned within minutes, allowing court proceedings to move forward.”
Delaware City Council authorized the police department to use the device during its Monday meeting, and Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski said Delaware County (along with Marion County and Union County) was one of three areas in the state with “hardworking” drug task forces with a large drug caseload that were selected by the AG’s office to pilot the devices.
Pijanowski said Monday the device has several advantages.
“It allows agencies to do testing a lot quicker,” Pijanowski told the council. “Now, evidence is processed quickly, which in turn gets people into court process quickly, which in turn gets them into court-mandated treatment quickly.”
Pijanowski added the device also needs a smaller sample than traditional drug tests in order to function, which means officers have to handle less potentially dangerous substances. He said the police department is “real happy to be involved” with testing the device.
Moore said the device requires special training from the State of Ohio, and police have trained two of their personnel to use the machine: one officer and the police department’s evidence technician.
The police department will test the device for over a year.
“Our agreement with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to use the machine runs until June 2023,” Moore said.
The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office reported it is aware of the devices, but deputies are not involved with the pilot program.
“We are not currently testing them in the field, but we are very familiar with the AG’s initiative and it is a great idea,” said DCSO Capt. Kevin Savage. “It will help with the timeliness of getting drug results back. Our evidence technicians have been trained in the use of the device. We appreciate this partnership with the state and look forward to taking full advantage of this new technology.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.