- Associated Press - Thursday, July 3, 2014

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - A plan by Eugene police to draw blood from drunken driving suspects who refuse to take breath tests on Independence Day has created a social media furor, and Chief Pete Kerns says he’s concerned about threats.

The “no refusal” strategy for the night of July 4-5 is designed to thwart drunken drivers who can, under Oregon’s implied consent law, refuse to take a breath test and lose their licenses for a year - a lesser penalty than might be meted out in court.

The plan was announced last week. It calls for suspects who refuse to do sobriety field tests and refuse to take breath tests to be taken to the police station. Prosecutors and a judge are to be on call to issue warrants for a technician to do blood draws.

Some people complained on Facebook that forcibly drawing blood tramples on a basic human right. One wrote: “You forcibly take blood from me - I will forcibly take blood from you.”

Kerns told The Register-Guard (https://bit.ly/VHLIGG ) it’s rare for people to make threats on the department’s Facebook page.

“We will be vigilant because of the threats,” he said. “We have to be vigilant every day here.”

Similar coordinated efforts to get immediate blood tests of drunken driving suspects have been undertaken in other states, including Arizona, Texas and Michigan, said Officer Ryan Stone.

He said the tests would be limited to drivers who won’t do the sobriety and breath tests, and there won’t be checkpoints to round them up.

“Checkpoints are not legal in Oregon, and their effectiveness in combating impaired driving is limited,” Stone said.

State troopers and officers in next-door Springfield plan to participate in the no-refusal effort.


Information from: The Register-Guard, https://www.registerguard.com

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