MSP suspends use of breathalyzers citing discrepancies
NILES, Mich.--- Michigan State Police have asked all agencies throughout the state to stop using breathalyzers after it announced possible fraud with the company that services the devices.
MSP advised all agencies on Monday to use a blood draw test to determine whether someone is under the influence.
A total of 203 Datamaster DMT instruments have been taken out of service while MSP investigates.
MSP launched a criminal investigation into how the devices were maintained by the three contracted employees with the vendor, Intoximeters.
Lt. DuWayne Robinson, with Michigan State Police, said the problem is not with the field sobriety tests. The Datamaster DMT instruments are used at jails and inside police agencies. These devices are the official blood-alcohol test used in court, according to Robinson.
“We have information that two out of the three employees that work for the vendor have noted in their documents that they showed up to service machines, when in fact the evidence shows that they did not,” said Robinson.
Robinson said evidence showed the employees were reporting that they performed more tests than they actually did when they serviced the devices.
The employees in question could face possible fraud and forgery charges.
Lt. Robinson said the irregularities could mean there has been a violation of public trust. The problem could have started as far back as 2018, when Intoximeters became the vendor for MSP.
“What do we do from here,” questioned Kevin Banyon, Criminal Defense Attorney in Berrien County.
“There have never been any issues with them in the past,” said Robinson. “So as far as getting a breath sample that is accurate, we stand by that.”
The breathalyzer recalibrated itself each morning at 4 a.m. and if the device malfunctioned, the contracted employees were assigned to service the Datamaster DMT instruments.
“If those aren’t being conducted, then it leads me to question what else is not being done correctly,” questioned Banyon.
Banyon suggested that it is best to get an outside source to take a second look at the devices.
“Objectively, we need to get this out of the government’s hands and really have an independent source look at the machine who has no stake in the game,” said Banyon.
Robinson said that officials have yet to investigate the third Intoximeters employee’s documents for any discrepancies.
The plan is to get the breathalyzers checked and back in service in 90 days.
Michael Sepic, Berrien County Prosecutor, said they plan to look at a number of factors and decide each case individually.