HERNANDO, MS (abc24.com) - The Intoxilyzer 8000 is a catchy name for one of the most popular DUI testing devices used by law enforcement, but its accuracy is in question. The Cincinnati Police Department stopped using it this week. Tennessee safety experts gave the Intoxilyzer 8000 a thumbs down years ago. However, Mississippi law enforcement depends on it.
Thousand of DUI cases in Florida, Arizona and Minnesota, which relied on test results from the Intoxilyzer 8000, have already been affected, many kicked out of court. DeSoto County Sheriff's deputies say there are no signs of problems in Mississippi.
The Intoxilyzer 8000 is in question across the country, but it's provided by the state of Mississippi for its law enforcement agencies. DeSoto County deputy, Johnathon Bigham says, "I know my whole career about eight years it's been there."
Bigham says he's never had any issues with the now controversial test. "It's a part of our life when it comes to a DUI down here. We offer it, we need it, it's something we need," he says.
Bigham says there are several reasons for false positives, "Nine times out of 10 it's user error, if you come in with a cell phone that's on it will pick up an RFI signal and ask you to redo the test. If you come in with a radio on, same thing."
Deputies have to wait 20 minutes to issue the tests, to make sure the suspect's mouth is clear, and they always take two samples. Cincinnati's prosecuting attorney told police there to stop using the system. DeSoto County's prosecutor, Craig Treadway, sees no reason for that. "I don't quite understand the decision, especially by the prosecutor, not to use it," Treadway says, "What I like about the 8000, as opposed to the older machine, is it gives you two results." He says the device is accurate and hopes the state keeps using it.
Deputy Bigham says all Mississippi officers go through training on the machine and if used properly there should be no errors.