Regina Police using new equipment to detect THC levels in motorists

A new instrument is helping Regina Police officers detect THC levels during roadside tests.

The Sotoxa Mobile Test System tests the amount of THC based off an oral fluid swab performed during a roadside stop by police. Officers trained to use the device take the sample, plug it into the machine which then offers a “positive” reading if there is 25 nanograms or more of THC present in the saliva, or a “negative” result.

One of the officers trained to use the Sotoxa unit, Corporal Andree Sieber with the RPS traffic safety unit, said they will utilize the unit when there is reasonable suspicion.

“It’s a roadside device that’s quick and simple, right at the side of the road and we can test drivers right there,” she told reporters at RPS headquarters.

Corporal Andree Sieber of the Regina Police Service has received training to use the Sotoxa. (Photo: Josh Sigurdson/620 CKRM)

Prior to acquiring the Sotoxa, Regina Police officers used a Draeger unit – another device that can test for drug impairment and that they still have access to. However the Sotoxa is a portable piece of equipment whereas officers were required to transport the driver to the police station if they wanted to use the Draeger.

When asked if the Sotoxa can give an accurate reading on how many nanograms of THC are present in the sample, Sieber explained how it only notifies the officer if it’s at, above or below 25 nanograms. However the legal limit is set at five nanograms.

So if a test comes back negative, Sieber said there are further steps police can take if they need more information.

“Let’s say I’ve stopped you and now I’m looking for signs of impairment. [The Sotoxa] is for suspicion, but if I have reasonable and probable grounds to believe that you are impaired, I can give you the DRE demand and we can go straight to a DRE test.”

Cpl. Sieber, who was trained to use the Sotoxa on February 10, has already used the device during a roadside test implemented on Feb 13, which resulted in impaired charges and a 72-hour license suspension.

She added there are four officers currently trained to use the Sotoxa and that more RPS members will be receiving training to use the instrument in the coming months.

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