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Eugene DUII blood test plan draws Bend favor

By Dan McCarthy
Published On: Jul 04 2014 02:29:00 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 04 2014 08:36:39 PM CDT

After announcing a "no-refusal Fourth of July" to the town of Eugene, residents were angry. NewsChannel 21's Dan McCarthy separated fact from fiction on blood testing for drunk drivers.

BEND, Ore. -

Eugene Police warned residents before the Fourth of July; refuse a Breathalyzer test if suspected of drunk driving, and be prepared to have blood drawn - and quickly.

The warning has sparked some anger, but a Bend police lieutenant sees the benefits.

Perhaps lost in the crossfire is the fact that blood testing has been a nationwide practice for DUII testing for years.

“The practice of getting a search warrant, to do a blood draw, for blood on somebody who's been arrested for drunk driving in Oregon and nationwide is nothing new,” Bend police Lt. Ken Mannix said Thursday.

The only difference between Eugene's and Bend’s plans for taking on DUIIs is the speed in which tests are conducted. 

In order to conduct a blood test for a DUII, Bend police officers need to get permission from a judge. Once given that permission via a search warrant, they take the suspect to a local hospital so doctors can conduct a blood test.  Mannix estimates the process takes about three hours, on average.  

But in Eugene, over the holiday, doctors and judges will be standing by at the police station -- a move that Mannix believes will streamline a long and often complicated process.

"It's a very efficient way they're doing it, because you're not going to be tying police officers up, at a hospital or trying to find a judge," Mannix said.

Mannix also applauded Eugene police for making it clear to its citizens that DUII testing would be boosted on Independence Day -- a holiday that will be very hectic for police nationwide, including Bend.

"There are a lot of events going on downtown, and then the Fourth of July of course thrown on top of it,” Mannix said. “We're expecting it to be pretty busy."

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