Through a grant from the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) and GHSA, the Missouri Department of Transportation Highway Safety and Traffic Division (MoDOT HSTD) partnered with the Missouri Safety Center (MSC) to conduct a survey with law enforcement throughout the state to gain feedback regarding several areas of development of a law enforcement phlebotomy program (LEPP), which can help better identify impaired drivers and reduce the number of cases that are dropped or pled down to a lesser offense because there wasn’t sufficient evidence. The grant was awarded in 2020 and was extended through 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through this collaboration, the project sought to identify challenges organizations throughout the state have encountered regarding blood draws and utilizing outside entities as well as finding local medical facilities that can assist law enforcement. Other challenges addressed in the survey include difficulty obtaining warrants, issues with getting blood drawn at local hospitals, contracting issues with external entities, 4th Amendment rights issues, opposition to an LEPP and insights into a possible hybrid LEPP. Agencies that have established successful collaborations with external partners to conduct blood draws provided information on the benefits of those programs. MSC also met with community law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to identify agencies that show a need for an LEPP.
The LEPP survey created discussion within Missouri regarding the best way for blood draws to occur. The concept of a new LEPP was controversial but continues to be a potential solution. MSC, with support from MoDOT HSTD, submitted a grant to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Law Enforcement Phlebotomy Implementation and Support Program to continue working toward a potential LEPP. The survey also led to the development of a Law Enforcement Phlebotomy Task Force to sustain the work that has already been completed through this grant. This Task Force will create final recommendations for movement forward and potential decisions regarding any LEPP or other programs related to blood draws in Missouri.