CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., are part of a coalition of senators proposing legislation to provide state and local law enforcement agencies with tools to better detect dangerous drugs.
The bipartisan group of 13 senators introduced the Providing Officers with Electronic Resources Act — or POWER Act — on Wednesday, which would establish a grant program to allow agencies to seek access to portable screening devices.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents already use the tools at ports of entry, allowing officers to better identify drugs and address drug trafficking. Officers are able to test and handle fentanyl instantly, and alert other offices when a drug is found in a community.
“Our local law enforcement plays a vital role in efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, and one of the ways they are helping in these efforts is by detecting and stopping the flow of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids,” Capito said.
“The POWER Act will help state and local law enforcement obtain the tools necessary to quickly detect these dangerous drugs and ultimately keep them out of communities in West Virginia and across the country. Legislation like the POWER Act can truly save lives, and I will continue working to develop and support new and innovative solutions like this one that will tackle this crisis from all angles.”
Multiple law enforcement groups support the bill, including the National Sheriffs’ Association, Fraternal Order of Police and the National Association of Police Organizations.