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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Sharp County receives new breathalyzer unit

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts and Chief Deputy David Huffmaster review the county's new stationary evidentiary breathalyzer unit at the Sharp County Jail. The unit was made possible by donations from the surrounding cities, as well as contribution from the county. Photo/Tammy Curtis
The Sharp County Sheriff's office welcomed a new piece of equipment to their jail March 1.

Sheriff Mark Counts and Chief Deputy David Huffmaster received the county's new stationary evidentiary breathalyzer instrument.

The county's previous system is no longer produced and the State Department of Health had ordered all police organizations to switch to new technology by April 1, 2011.

Laura Bailey, Director of the Office of Alcohol Testing at the Arkansas Department of Health in Little Rock, was present to demonstrate the new unit for Counts and Huffmaster. The Department of Health is the certifying body for breathalyzer equipment.

Bailey said the new dual technology system is certified and meets the standards set by the Department of Health.

Bailey said the current portable breathalyzer tests (PBTs) commonly used by officers in the field, are not evidentiary, meaning their results may not stand up in court.

The new system is fully functional and certified to meet the state's standards.

Counts began a campaign prior to taking office as sheriff to have the unit installed by the deadline.

With $1,000 monetary donations from each of the cities of Ash Flat, Cherokee Village, Highland, Cave City and Hardy, the county was able to afford the $7,600 unit.

Each city will be able to utilize the machine to test for alcohol levels in individuals cited for alcohol related offenses with the new equipment.

Counts said he is very thankful for the support he has received in funding the unit and is proud to have it installed a month ahead of schedule.

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