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Bill aims to keep officers safe from fentanyl

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Heroin, marijuana found

The Racine County Sheriff's Office confiscated the pictured 122.5 grams of heroin mixed with a fentanyl, as well as marijuana, money and phones after stopping a vehicle that was speeding in a Racine County construction zone along Interstate 94. 

WASHINGTON — A proposed piece of legislation aims to help local law enforcement find fentanyl and other dangerous drugs.

The Providing Officers With Electronic Resources (POWER) Act, if passed, would establish a new grant program within the Department of Justice to help law enforcement acquire high-tech, portable chemical screening devices that assist officers in the detection of fentanyl and other dangerous drugs.

The hope is the funds will help law enforcement efficiently identify substances while keeping them safe and better deploy resources to combat illegal substances from entering communities.

According to the Center for Disease Control, fentanyl, which experts believe is stronger than other opioids, is odorless which makes detection difficult.

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, a Republican whose Wisconsin 1st District includes Racine County, is a co-sponsor on the bill.

“As I meet with our police officers, sheriffs and first responders, issues concerning fentanyl are front of mind,” Steil said in a statement. “We must ensure law enforcement and first responders have the tools to keep themselves safe from exposure. I will continue supporting our law enforcement in Congress.”

Steil has met with every county sheriff from Wisconsin’s First Congressional District and participated in ride-alongs with the Racine and Janesville Police Departments.

“With the POWER Act, Congressman Steil demonstrates his continued and relentless pursuit in supporting and keeping law enforcement safe,” Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said.


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