Off-duty police officers in St. Clair and Bibb Counties conducted a roadblock last week. Drivers were asked to give samples of their blood and saliva as part of a study in exchange for money. According to Freddie Turrentine at the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office, the surveys were voluntary.
Despite this claim, many controversies have risen over these unusual surveys. With little warning and explanation behind the roadblocks, many citizens and officials are skeptical.
Governor Bentley released a statement, “I am instructing my Secretary of Law Enforcement, Spencer Collier, to investigate this issue. Like many people, I have questions about how and why these surveys were carried out along Alabama's roads. We need to find out from the federal government exactly what is being done with the information that was collected. We'll do everything we can to get to the bottom of the issue and make sure that the rights of our citizens are protected.”
The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA) funded the study. However, it was conducted through a nonprofit organization located in Maryland called Pacific Institute and Research Evaluation (PIRE).
PIRE’s mission statement, found on the organization’s website, states, “PIRE is an independent, nonprofit organization merging scientific knowledge and proven practice to create solutions that improve the health, safety and well-being of individuals, communities, and nations around the world.”
According to PIRE, scientists conduct these types of studies to show how Alcohol causes and contributes to community problems. PIRE then works to find interventions to decrease these alcohol-related issues. For more information on PIRE, visit the organizations website at: http://www.pire.org/index.asp.