A group of lawmakers introduced the Providing Officers with Electronic Resources (POWER) Act, which they said would provide state and local law enforcement with drug detection devices.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said the measure would establish a new grant program via the Department of Justice (DOJ), aiding state and local law enforcement organizations in securing portable screening devices.
“Fentanyl continues to devastate families and communities in Ohio and across the country, made even worse by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Portman said. “Congress must continue to give law enforcement and other first responders the tools they need to detect and stop fentanyl and other synthetic drugs. The POWER Act is another important step forward in this effort.”
Officials said the same high-tech screening devices were secured for Customs and Border Protection agents through the INTERDICT Act.
“Law enforcement officers are on the frontlines of our efforts to combat illegal fentanyl,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a co-sponsor of the legislation, said. “Following our success in securing new screening devices for federal law enforcement agents, we need to give Ohio officers the same tools to detect these dangerous drugs.”
Officials noted the equipment uses laser technology to analyze potentially harmful substances while identifying those based on a library of thousands of compounds categorized within the device.