Authorities at every level are constantly searching for ways to monitor their DUI clients effectively. One example is Henry County in Georgia. Over the past few months, the county’s DUI Court has discovered the benefit of portable breath alcohol testing in Georgia for its program participants.
The Henry County DUI Court’s tool of choice is SmartStart’s BreathCheck™ portable breath alcohol testing tool. Other counties have been successful with BreathCheck for portable breath alcohol testing in Georgia, and Henry County – which is located just southeast of Atlanta – is no exception.
BreathCheck is the Solution for Portable Breath Alcohol Testing in Georgia
Lisa King is the DUI/Drug Court Coordinator for Henry County. She oversees the use of BreathCheck for program participants. She first learned about BreathCheck at a training event in September 2019, and the county started using the device in October 2019. King was already familiar with Smart Start, distributing discount coupons for drivers who require an Ignition Interlock Device.
DUI Court participants are typically multiple offenders who are required to stay in the program for at least one year. Since they have multiple DUIs, she said, they require an Ignition Interlock Device. But she also recognized the benefit of an extra layer of alcohol testing monitoring for some participants.
Helping Surveillance Officers in the Field
Traditionally, Henry County has had two surveillance officers who check DUI Court participants for compliance. That includes making sure they’re in compliance with alcohol consumption rules, curfew, and so on.
However, King said, BreathCheck gives the surveillance officers an extra tool to ensure compliance. Participants are tested three times a day, and their location is monitored by GPS through Smart Start’s Client Portal app.
This includes a handful of clients who live outside of Henry County, but still participate in the DUI Court. Surveillance officers aren’t always able to easily check on those participants.
Overall, King said, “I really like BreathCheck. It’s a great tool, especially since we can test people multiple times each day. They know that they’re going to be held accountable. And they know that if they test positive, they could be sanctioned in court.”
A Unique Perspective on Portable Breath Alcohol Testing in Georgia
King chose an interesting approach when Henry County started using BreathCheck. She spent some time using the device herself, getting to know how it works. She tried BreathCheck with different items, such as alcohol, toothpaste and mouthwash. “That’s how I know they device works properly,” she said.
“When clients say the unit isn’t working right, or they had a positive result when they shouldn’t have, I want the confidence to say that they’re not correct,” she said. “When I tell them that I’ve used it, and I know that it works, they’re shocked. That’s when the conversation pretty much ends.” She added that it also is a benefit that they’re prompted for another test to help verify any positive result.
SmartWeb Plays a Major Role in BreathCheck’s Success
King said she also takes advantage of Smart Start’s SmartWeb™ online case management for its reporting and administrative capabilities. She gets a daily report from SmartWeb to follow the Dui Court’s BreathCheck users.
“SmartWeb lets me see them taking the test, and the GPS lets me see their location,” she said. “I think SmartWeb is very user-friendly. It’s easy to get reports, or to go in and make notes when I change someone’s testing schedule.”
BreathCheck: Compliance plus Personal Accountability
King said that BreathCheck’s value goes beyond compliance. It also helps with personal accountability.
“The participants are going to slip up,” she said. “That’s part of recovery. Some people may need a little more help than others. In the beginning, they may struggle a little bit. But BreathCheck can help them realize that ‘Hey, I’d better get it together.’ It can be the wakeup call that they need to get back on track.”
If you’d like more information about portable breath alcohol testing in Georgia – or anywhere else – contact one of our Business Development Representatives or call (800) 831-3299.