Minnesota will participate in an oral swab drugged driving pilot program in 2024.  Stearns County Sheriff Steve Soyka says Stearns County would participate in the program but he hasn't been notified if the state will send any swabs their direction.  He describes it as an instrument similar to the preliminary breath test they do on the side of the road for driving under the influence of alcohol.  Soyka says the instrument was rolled out to drug recognition officers in the state including the 4 Stearns County has in their agency.

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Soyka suspects this instrument to roll out to the State Patrol first before it becomes available to county and city police officers.  He says the results are not admissible in court this year but if deemed successful they will seek approval for 2025.  Soyka explains when the state patrol receives access to this they would be far behind.  He says Stearns County has a DUI officer funded by the state and Soyka would expect that officer to be trained first before the rest of the officers.

The 4 Stearns County Drug recognition experts can be on call if they have a DUI stop.  Soyka says they try and have at least one available for each night shift.  He describes the drug recognition officers as patrol officers who have an interest in traffic safety and traffic enforcement.

If you'd like to listen to my full conversation with Stearns County Sheriff Steve Soyka it is available below.



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