Police in a few departments around the U.S. are testing a hand-held laser device, which boosters can immediately identify illegal drugs and could revolutionize how narcotics cases are investigated and prosecuted.
Proponents hope the device, called TruNarc, will help officers quickly discern illicit substances at a time when police are seeing a surge in new, harder-to-identify designer drugs such as the psychoactive powders known as “bath salts.”
Paul Keenan, chief of police in Quincy, Mass., said his detectives have been using it for months, alongside traditional drug-testing kits.
“It’s cop-proof. It’s rugged, dependable and easy to use,” said Keenan. He compared the potential impact of the device to breath analyzers used on suspected drunken drivers, which allow street cops to produce data routinely accepted in court.