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Field Test Accuracy Across North Alabama

Video Credit: WAAY ABC Huntsville, AL - Published
Field Test Accuracy Across North Alabama

Field Test Accuracy Across North Alabama

Sydney Martin talks to Huntsville police and test whether powdered milk could be mistaken for cocaine.

Expect delays in the area while it's cleared... an unusual story got everyone talking in our newsroom today.

A man was sent to prison for 15 years for carrying around powdered milk.

A field test falsely considered it cocaine!

By the time a state lab finished its tests.

And discovered the mistake-- the man already pled guilty!

This happened in oklahoma.

But the waay 31 i-team wanted to know if a similar error could happen here.

Waay 31's sydney martin took that question straight to police today.

Syd, "the commander of huntsville police's drug task force tested this baggie of powdered milk for me..it came up negative on the test...huntsville police tell me the test they use in the field is accurate."


Tony mcelyea, huntsville police, "for as long as i've been a police officer, 15 years, and long before that, we've done it.

It's very essential to how we do our job and we take pride in how we do our job and we only put people in jail who deserve to be put in jail."

Lieutenant tony mcelyea said in his 10 years with the narcotics department he can't recall any false positives from field tests.

Mcelyea explained before the department researched several different field tests and reached out to other agencies to find out if they're accurate.

Both the limestone county and marshall county sheriff's office said they use kits as well..and haven't had any problems with them.

All agencies told me they would never have a case go to court until results from the department of forensics are returned.

"it gives you probable cause to make an arrest then once they do that and it comes back positive and they take them to the jail they transport them to the department of forensic scientists for their official test."

The department also uses a machine called true narc.

It send lasers through a substance and come back with a result..that tells them in the field what drug it is or if it's not a drug at all!

Officers say it means prevents any possible exposure to a possibly deadly narcotic..which makes their job safer..

"trunarc is a 25,000 dollar machine it actually breaks down the chemicals inside of each substance."

In huntsville sm waay 31 news.

Huntsville police tell waay 31 that only drug agents and supervisors carry field tests with them.

Patrol officers who think someone might have drugs call for assistance to

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