GBI Receives National Award for Marijuana Testing - 10/05/09

By Megan Matteucci

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Reprint Information

A national police organization recognized the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for testing marijuana better than any other law enforcement agency in the nation.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police presented the 2009 Vollmer Excellence in Forensic Science Award Sunday night at its annual conference in Denver.

The award is for the success of the marijuana training program developed by the GBI’s Chemistry Section, GBI spokesman John Bankhead said.

The GBI has trained and certified more than 1,600 police officers in Georgia to test marijuana seized, Bankhead said. The program allows officers to test the drug locally without having to send it to the crime lab.

“Because of this program, marijuana cases move through the court system more rapidly than other controlled substance cases,” Bankhead said. “The laboratory has seen a 98 percent reduction of marijuana cases tested.”

This allows the GBI’s drug scientists to focus more on serious drug cases, Bankhead said.

The Vollmer award honors proactive and innovative use of forensic technologies by law enforcement.