Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Criminalistics Laboratory
New Searchable Data for Breath Alcohol TestingThe Division of Criminal Investigation is making breath alcohol data readily searchable by everyone. This includes, certification reports and maintenance records on The DataMaster DMT evidential breath instrument, individual test data for when a subject provides a breath into the instrument and officer training records regarding areas specifically regarding training in the field of alcohol testing and collection.
The Breath Alcohol Testing section covers responsibilities for three (3) areas:
Evidential Breath Testing
Criminalists assigned to the Breath Alcohol Testing section within the laboratory are responsible for the maintenance and certification of the evidential breath testing instruments used in the State of Iowa. The Iowa Administrative Code establishes that the evidential breath alcohol testing instruments must be certified once a year to be in proper working order. They accomplish this by running various tests on the units including, but not limited to, accuracy and precision checks, diagnostic checks, radio interference and volatile compound interference testing and by performing a simulated breath test similar to the one encountered in an OWI testing situation.
The laboratory is also responsible for training law enforcement personnel on the operation of the instrument/ This training centers on how to run a test on an individual but not necessarily on all the scientific concepts behind how it works.
There are approximately 170 DataMasters in use throughout the state. Several smaller populated counties only have one which is typically located at the Sheriff’s Office or Jail. However, larger police departments within the state may also have one (or two) assigned to their agencies.
The Commissioner of Public Safety has approved the use of either the DataMaster cdm or DataMaster DMT to test a subject’s breath for the presence of alcohol.
Portable Breath Testing Equipment (PBTs)
The Division of Criminal Investigation Laboratory evaluates portable breath testing equipment (PBTs). Manufacturers of this instrumentation who wish to sell their devices in the State of Iowa for use by law enforcement must first have them approved by the Iowa DCI Laboratory.
The laboratory performs scientific tests to ensure the devices maintain accuracy, precision, and can be calibrated easily by law enforcement personnel as well as general ease of use testing. Recommendations are then made to the Commissioner of Public Safety on whether or not a PBT meets acceptable criteria. Not all PBTs approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration meet Iowa’s rigorous testing requirements.
Manufacturers who wish to sell their devices in the State of Iowa need to contact the laboratory and arrange for testing of at least two units. The Iowa DCI Laboratory can be reached at 515-725-1500.
Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs)
The Division of Criminal Investigation also evaluates Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) that are utilized within the State of Iowa. An IID is a device, installed within a motor vehicle, for the purpose of testing a sample of the driver’s breath for the presence of alcohol. A breath alcohol test result must be below 0.025 g/210L in order for the vehicle to start.
The IID is also designed to require random re-tests as the subject is driving to ensure that the individual’s breath alcohol level is below a preset limit of 0.025 g/210L breath. Should the operator fail to deliver a breath within a designated time period or test above the preset limit, the unit will indicate that a violation has occurred by causing the vehicles lights to flash and/or horn to sound repeatedly.
The Laboratory, as with the PBTs, performs a series of scientific tests on IIDs to ensure that they work within the State’s expected criteria. Just like PBTs, several IIDs that have been approved by NHTSA have failed to meet the requirements established by the Iowa DCI Laboratory.
Manufacturers who wish to sell their devices in the State of Iowa first need to contact the Laboratory and arrange for testing of at least two units. The Laboratory can be reached at 515-725-1500.
On January 1, 2010, Only IIDs that utilize fuel cell technology will be allowed to be installed in vehicles.
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