MSP Investigating Potential Fraud Involving Breath Alcohol Testing

The state police have taken over responsibility for ensuring all Datamaster DMTs are certified

WWJ News
January 13, 2020 - 8:04 pm
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(Photo: Jon Hewett/WWJ)

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(WWJ) -- Michigan State Police says it is "aggresively investigating" potential fraud committed by employees of the vendor that services its breath alcohol testing instruments.

MSP says it has stopped using more than 200 Datamaster DMTs serviced by St. Louis-based Intoximeters so they "can inspect and verify each instrument to ensure it is properly calibrated." In the meantime, police are recommending that police agencies utilize blood draws rather than breath tests to establish evidence of drunk driving.

In a written statement, state police director Col. Joseph Gasper says MSP has launched a criminal investigation into Intoximeters, saying it was recently discovered that the company falsified certification records and misrepresented when the devices were calibrated.

Over the weekend, MSP alerted prosecutors and police departments across the state that it had issued a stop order on the vendor's contract due to performance-related issues. The state police have taken over responsibility for ensuring all Datamaster DMTs are certified, calibrated and serviced according to state law and industry standard, Gasper said.

Gasper also said authorities are still in process of reviewing vendor records -- and "will be for some time" -- but there are possible discrepancies that have been identified involving the instruments in question at eight different departments across the state:

  • Alpena County Sheriff’s Department
  • Beverly Hills Police Department
  • Detroit Detention Center
  • Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department
  • Niles Police Department
  • Pittsfield Township Police Department
  • Tecumseh Police Department
  • Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department

State Police say while the discrepancies do not directly impact or deal with the results of evidential breath tests, it is concerning that it appears as though some certification records have been falsified. As a result, a criminal investigation is underway to look into possible forgery of public documents.

"To be clear, a properly calibrated and maintained Datamaster DMT is an extremely reliable instrument, which is why issuing the stop order, placing the instruments temporarily out-of-service and assuming responsibility for maintaining all Datamasters in the state is an extreme move that places a burden on all of the state’s law enforcement resources, but it is an absolutely necessary move to safeguard the integrity of the criminal justice process," Gasper said. "Upon learning of additional and more egregious discrepancies, I am no longer comfortable having police agencies using these instruments until we can be confident they are certified, calibrated and serviced according to state law and industry standard."

MSP says if the investigation shows that any criminal acts occurred, criminal charges will be sought against those responsible.