Michigan State Police 'aggressively investigating' potential fraud involving its breathalyzers

Michigan State Police have opened up an investigation into three employees contracted with the company that services the department's breathalyzer instruments. 

The announcement follows an alert made by MSP last Friday that was sent out to all prosecutors and police departments to stop using all 203 breath alcohol testing instruments supplied by Intoximeters, the department's breathalyzer vendor. 

In a release sent out Monday, Jan. 13, state police said it will conduct a "thorough and complete investigation" and if any "criminal acts occurred, we will pursue criminal charges against those responsible."

"Review of vendor records in the last two days has yielded additional discrepancies that may point to the potential for a more widespread issue with the way in which some instruments were being serviced," read the release.

Intoximeters did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The investigation is looking into three contract employees who were responsible for servicing the instruments in the state. MSP said it is calling those records from the service sessions into question following discovery of those discrepancies. While MSP said those differences don't directly impact or deal with the results of the breath tests, "it appears as though some certification records have been falsified."

"As a result, the MSP has opened a criminal investigation that is looking into possible forgery of public documents."

While early in its investigation, state police believe several records were falsified. However, it's unclear how long those practices were undertaken. In August of 2019, MSP sent a letter to Intoximeters requesting a "corrective action plan" after finding grounds for breach of contract. Intoximeters responded with a plan, but issues continued to arise shortly after. 

Possible discrepancies involving Datamaster breathalyzers were found in the following locations:

  • Alpena County Sheriff’s Department
  • Beverly Hills Police Department
  • Detroit Detention Center
  • Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department
  • Niles Police Department
  • Pittsfield Township Police Department
  • Tecumseh Police Department
  • Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department

All counties where these departments are located have been notified and state police are suggesting police agencies use blood draws, rather than breath tests to establish evidence of impaired driving.

Jack Nissen is a reporter at FOX 2 Detroit. You can contact him at (248) 552-5269 or at Jack.Nissen@Foxtv.com