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April 3, 2019
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Representative Conor Lamb (D-PA) in partnership with Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and David Trone (D-MD), introduced bipartisan legislation to assist state and local law enforcement obtain drug screening devices used by federal law enforcement.  The Providing Officers With Electronic Resources (POWER) Act establishes a new grant program at the Department of Justice to help law enforcement agencies secure these high-tech, portable chemical screening devices, also known as interdiction devices, that assist officers in the detection of fentanyl and other dangerous drugs.

The POWER Act was introduced in the previous Congress by Lamb and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who also reintroduced the Senate version of this legislation.

"The opioid crisis is affecting communities across our region and the country.  We need to make sure our local law enforcement officers are armed with the right tools to stay safe and do their jobs effectively,” said Lamb.  “This legislation will increase the safety of our officers and will streamline the substance testing process, providing real-time results to reduce the backlog in the legal system."

"I’m proud to join Representatives Lamb and Trone to reintroduce this important, bipartisan bill to support our law enforcement officers who are working on the front lines of the opioid crisis,” said Rep. Dave Joyce (OH-14).  “It’s imperative that our law enforcement have the necessary tools to detect dangerous drugs and get them off our streets and out of our communities, while ensuring their own safety in the process.  With 130 Americans dying every day from an opioid related overdose, we need to do everything we can to stop this crisis in its tracks, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find solutions to this epidemic."

"Fentanyl and other synthetic drugs are killing us — literally. In 2016, we lost my nephew Ian to a fentanyl overdose,” said Rep. David Trone (MD-6), founder of the Freshmen Working Group on Addiction, a bipartisan effort of more than 50 members of the Freshmen class dedicated to addressing the addiction epidemic.  “We must make sure our first responders, who are on the front lines of this epidemic, are protected from exposure to deadly substances like fentanyl.  Providing resources like screening devices to state and local entities is a no brainer."

Already widely used by federal law enforcement officers at our nation’s ports of entry, interdiction devices enable local and state law enforcement professionals to better respond to the opioid crisis in America.

In addition to the immediate safety benefits, the quantity of drugs being seized by officers is contributing to significant backlogs in local and state testing laboratories, resulting in delays in charging decisions and prosecutions, as well as hindering the effectiveness and efficiency of drug investigations.  These devices will allow law enforcement to more effectively conduct drug investigations and prosecutions and crack down on drug trafficking at the source.

The POWER Act is supported by the National Sheriffs Association, Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, International Union of Police Associations, National Tactical Officers Association, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association, Buckeye State Sheriffs Association, and the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police.