With marijuana legalization just three weeks away, Regina police said on Wednesday that they are still getting ready.
While some police departments such as Vancouver police, have decided not to use the federally approved pot-screening device, the Regina Police Service will have one to start with.
The device, known as the Drager DrugTest 5000, has been purchased but police in Regina are still waiting to receive it. It’s not clear if it will arrive by October 17.
Once the roadside screening test arrives, Chief Evan Bray isn’t yet sure how it will be deployed.
“Are we going to put it simply in a police car and have it driving around the streets of Regina so that we can use it? Will it be used in more of a project situation?” Bray questioned.
Police officers still have to be trained on how to use the device. Bray said training will be held in Ottawa before legalization funded by Public Safety Canada. Those members will return to Regina and train front-line officers, likely those in the traffic safety unit.
One of the biggest challenges with using the device could be the weather. There are concerns about reports the device is sensitive to cold temperatures, which would be a problem in Saskatchewan.
“That’s going to be something that, through the winter months, is something that we’ll be vigilant to and we’ll try and manage,” said Bray.
While the device may be federally approved for police use, Bray explained it’s important to understand the pot-screening device isn’t yet a proven piece of technology for police enforcement in Canada.
He expects more options to be made available in the future. A device that may not prove practical could be replicated, perfected and improved.
In the meantime, Regina police already have 11 Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) who are specially trained to detect signs and provide evidence of drug impairment.
“They are much more accessible to our officers if they need evidence of impairment by drug that perhaps this instrument will be,” said Bray.
The Regina Police Service has been focused on training, enforcement and public education but there are still some unknowns ahead of marijuana legalization.
Bray doesn’t have a clear idea of the surrounding cost of legalization on his police service or it’s effect on crime.