September 2, 2017

For Example …

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 1:17 pm

DWI-blood-drawIn our July 4, 2017, post entitled Not a Good Idea, we raised several issues and concerns we had with Coeur d’Alene Police Department officers being trained as phlebotomists to do evidentiary blood draws.

A recent incident in Utah seems to confirm some of our concerns about what could happen here in Coeur d’Alene.

On or about July 26, 2017, nurse Alex Wubbels was arrested at Salt Lake’s University Hospital for refusing a police detective’s order to perform a blood draw from an unconscious patient, a motor vehicle accident victim.

The most complete version of the story we’ve seen was published by The Salt Lake Tribune on September 1, 2017.  The story is headlined Video shows Utah nurse screaming, being handcuffed after refusing to take blood from unconscious victim.

According to the Tribune article, the detective who arrested nurse Wubbels, “…was suspended from the department’s blood-draw program — where officers are trained as phlebotomists so they can get blood samples — but he remains on duty with the Police Department…”

The public has every right to expect that a police officer who has received special training and certification to perform a very invasive search of a person’s body for evidence will also be familiar with and fully comply with both department policies and applicable law.  The public can also expect that such a trained officer will not try to circumvent either policy or law by ordering a hospital employee to perform the search.

Likewise, the public has every right to expect that a police officer’s supervisor, in this instance Lieutenant Tracy, will be even more familiar than subordinates with department policies and applicable laws and will take any and all steps necessary to ensure that the subordinate complies with them rather than tries to circumvent them.

What is also very distressing in the Tribune article was

“No claim or lawsuit has been filed, Porter said, but she [Wubbels] has had discussions with Salt Lake City police and she believes the department will educate its officers.

Wubbels said she has heard anecdotally of other health care workers being bullied and harassed by police, and that these videos prove that there is a problem.”

So why weren’t the police department’s policies updated immediately after the court’s decision, and why weren’t all officers properly and completely trained in the application of the new policies?

Exactly why should the people here in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, have any assurance that something similar to what happend to nurse Wubbels in Salt Lake City couldn’t happen here?

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