San Diego CA—The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Regional Crime Laboratory has been awarded a competitive grant of $ 2.6 million to help keep our roadways safe from impaired driving. Funding comes from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Cannabis Tax Fund Grant Program for education, prevention and enforcement programs on impaired driving.
Here’s a look at how the Crime Lab will use the grant money:
- Expand the Crime Lab’s blood alcohol testing capabilities to include other drugs by establishing an in-house toxicology program from the ground up. The Crime Lab currently outsources all blood and urine drug testing to a private lab. Having in-house services will phase out reliance on outside services. The goal is to meet or exceed the National Safety Council Recommendations for Toxicological Investigation of Drug-Impaired Driving as an ANSI National Accreditation Board laboratory.
- Purchase state-of-the-art instrumentation, equipment and testing supplies to identify and determine the concentration of drugs and other chemicals in DUI samples.
- Facility upgrades to ensure ventilation, temperature control and uninterrupted power supply.
- Train staff on new instrumentation and equipment.
- Provide quarterly data to stakeholders such as the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), CHP and partner agencies in the San Diego region. Information will help shape and allocate resources for education, intervention and prevention campaigns to improve roadway safety.
The Crime Lab provides forensic science services to more than 30 law enforcement agencies in the county. It processes more than 6,000 samples in traffic safety cases per year. Understanding drug use, misuse and abuse will give a consistent picture of the true impacts of drugged driving. It is also vital in identifying emerging drug trends that could impair driving.
This grant will ultimately improve testing capabilities, analysis and turnaround times for case results benefiting law enforcement agencies in the county.