FDLE staff drink up to test accuracy of breathalyzers

SARASOTA — A newspaper says Florida law enforcement officials paid for employees to get drunk to test the reliability of an alcohol breathalyzer machine.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shelled out $330 on Jim Beam whiskey and other booze in October and invited 15 employees to drink up. The point, according to the FDLE, was to test the accuracy of the Intoxilyzer 8000 machine, which has been under attack in the courts as inaccurate.

The employees blew into the machines at the FDLE's Tallahassee office, then had their blood drawn and sent to a lab.

An expert at the agency pronounced the machines accurate, but others question if the test had any real scientific validity or whether it proves what it was intended to.

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