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Breathalyzer Tests for Cops Involved in Shootings



Starting in September, the New York Police Department will administer breathalyzer tests like those used in drunken-driving stops on any on- or off-duty officers who kill or wound someone, Kelly said Monday. The breath tests were one of 19 recommendations made by police officials assigned to study the NYPD's undercover operations amid community outrage over the killing of Sean Bell. Other steps include more stringent psychological screenings for undercover candidates, improving scenario-based training with the help of professional actors, and installing lights and sirens in unmarked cars.

The measures are expected to make "undercover operations the safest possible for the police and public alike," Kelly said. He said at least one other police department, in Milwaukee, issues the breath tests to officers involved in certain shootings. An attorney for Bell's fiancee and his two wounded friends praised the new police department policy Monday. "It is positive change. It is a first step in the right direction," said the lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein. He said New York's Legislature should require the same alcohol testing statewide of all officers involved in shootings.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has counseled and spoken for the victims, said ensuring that the public knows whether police officers are "in complete control of their senses when making life and death decisions" is critical. Sharpton's National Action Network has been holding weekly rallies and other events to draw attention to the Bell shooting case.

In March, Isnora and another detective, Michael Oliver, were indicted on manslaughter charges. A third, Marc Cooper, was charged with a misdemeanor for a bullet that struck an elevated train station across the street from the bar.


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