According to a memo forwarded to me from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, the SFPD has not properly checked their preliminary alcohol screening devices for accuracy. Assistant District Attorney Jerry P. Coleman asserts that, “[I]t appears that the San Francisco Police Department has been calibrating its P.A.S. devices, but has not been performing accuracy checks.” This revelation seriously calls into question to validity of all P.A.S. test results in San Francisco. It is unclear if the devices used to perform evidential breath alcohol tests were checked for accuracy either.
The methods used to calibrate the P.A.S. devices are also being questioned, because SFPD has been using expired sample gas canisters to perform calibrations.
According to California Code of Regulations, Title 17, section 1221.4, the accuracy of breath instruments shall be conducted at least every 10 days, or 150 tests, whichever comes sooner.
This serious failure by SFPD to abide by California law should cause us to question all methods employed by that department. If they can have such a cavalier attitude towards this requirement why should we assume that they are following other standards?
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