NBC29: Rep. Spanberger introduces bill to help secure fentanyl detection tools for police departments


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – A new bill introduced by 7th District Representative Abigail Spanberger (D) could help police officers get the tools they need to detect and identify dangerous drugs on the field.

Rep. Spanberger says this would speed up investigations and help save lives.

“I have heard directly from the law enforcement officers I represent across Virginia’s 7th District about the impacts that fentanyl in our communities has had,” Spanberger said.

The Providing Officers With Electronic Resources (POWER) Act would create a new grant program to secure high tech screening devices to detect fentanyl while out on calls or during arrests.

“Typically they would be sending those suspected drugs off to the laboratories for testing. That can take months in some cases, and it impacts prosecution. It certainly impacts early warning signs that some of these drugs have showed up in a particular community,” Spanberger said.

Law enforcement agencies like the Albemarle County Police Department could apply for funding to buy these screening devices.

In a statement, ACPD Colonel Sean Reeves said: “The Albemarle County Police Department is always interested in learning more about technologies that can improve the overall safety of our community. We look forward to learning more about this bill and how it may benefit our community.”

The bill has support across party lines. Spanberger says the next step is to move it through committee and to the house floor.

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