Prosecutor orders Cincinnati police officers to stop using Intoxilyzer 8000

CINCINNATI - The instrument purchased for and used by police across the state of Ohio will not be used in the city of Cincinnati.

The Intoxilyzer 8000 is used to test drivers' blood alcohol level.

The state of Ohio has supplied the Intoxilyzer 8000 to police agencies in all 88 counties in Ohio with a price tag of less than $7 million. But more and more police agencies are not using it until cases play out in courts all across Ohio, but until now, none as large as Cincinnati.

The mandate for police officers to stop using the Intoxilyzer 8000 came from Cincinnati City Prosecutor Charles Rubenstein. He told 9 News Tuesday that officers have been instructed to use the old machine, the Intoxilyzer 5000.

9 News first reported the Intoxilyzer 8000 controversy last year when West Chester OVI defense attorney Jeff Meadows led a number of attorneys across the state in questioning the machine's accuracy and said "the state is sticking their head in the sand."

"They don't want to know what is going on, that is my opinion," Meadows added.

Among the alleged issues with the machine were reports that it can't always recognize the number of times it has been breathed in to, and perhaps more importantly--accuracy.

Meadows had concerns about the Intoxilyzer 8000, especially when it came to one of his cases.

"This subject blew into the machine at 7:02 in the evening, produced a result allegedly of .158. Four minutes later, on a second sample, the machine indicated a result of .137 grams of alcohol per 210 liters," said Meadows. "So just minutes later, he became less drunk? Substantially less drunk."

Earlier this year, the state invited 9 News to test the machine ourselves and found no issues.

Rubenstein said he does not believe the machine is inaccurate, but said he feels it is in the city's best interest to let courts continue to rule on the machine's effectiveness to avoid a backlog of cases.

Rubenstein also told Ohio State Troopers to stop using the 8000 in the Cincinnati city limits. That means troopers who work for the state cannot use the machines the state bought for their use in the city of Cincinnati.

Monday, an appellate ruling in a Clermont County OVI case was handed down, reversing a judge's decision to throw out test results from the Intoxilyzer 8000.

9 News spoke with CMI, which makes the Intoxilyzer 8000. The company thinks with the decision from the 12th District Court of Appeals, the city may want to "re-think things."

CMI says it stands by the accuracy of its instruments and says it's been receiving favorable rulings in courts across the country including from the Supreme Court of Minnesota.

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