Ok, the headline may be a little misleading, but it’s still a scary idea.
Minnesota has developed a law enforcement phlebotomy program. Training police officers as phlebotomists is neither new nor novel. Several states (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Texas, and Utah) have programs training police officers in the skills required to successfully draw blood samples from DWI suspects and NHTSA has provided Federal funding to some states for this.
Minnesota’s program will launch in early winter 2010. The class will consist of 8 hours of online, classroom training and 32 hours of lab exercises. The course will be administered and coordinated trough the Dakota County Technical College (DCTC).
This is an exciting new program for Minnesota law enforcement and should prove beneficial to reducing incidents of DWI. It is also an efficient use of resources that both reduces the cost of collecting evidence and reduces the time required to obtain a blood sample, thereby providing the blood test closer to the time of driving. With officers receiving the same training as medical personnel who draw blood, it will be done in a safe manner.
This may sound like an ‘exciting’ idea, but it’s a pretty scary idea. The nice thing about having hospital staff perform this procedure is that they have years of experience. They know about the individual’s medical conditions. They are well trained (we are talking more than 40 hours of training). And I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I trust an officer to stick me with a needle.