U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Role of the Law Enforcement Phlebotomist

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 72 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2005 Pages: 122,124,125
Robert L. Ticer
Date Published
September 2005
3 pages
This article describes the role of trained phlebotomists (persons trained in the practice of drawing blood) in DUI (driving under the influence) cases handled by the Arizona Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol (DPS).
The DPS has officers who are trained as phlebotomists in drawing blood from DUI suspects. Prior to developing an in-house operation, the DPS relied on hospital phlebotomists to draw blood if consent was given and a breath screening device was not immediately available; however, some civilian phlebotomists were hesitant about drawing blood from uncooperative DUI suspects due to unfounded legal concerns. Based in the initial success of the pilot use of in-house phlebotomists, the DPS now has 103 certified officer-phlebotomists strategically located throughout the State, and other Arizona law enforcement agencies have more than 400 such phlebotomists operating in the State. The use of a search warrant to obtain blood evidence from DUI suspects by phlebotomists has eliminated suspects' refusal from almost all DUI investigations. The DUI Squad's mobile Intoxilyzer vehicle is equipped with a phlebotomy chair, telephone, and fax machine. The driver and officers in the squad are all certified phlebotomists, so they can quickly obtain search warrants from the arrest scene and ensure a proper chain of custody for the blood drawn. This process has significantly reduced booking times and increased the efficiency of operations at sobriety checkpoints. DPS phlebotomists are also used to assist local and county law enforcement agencies with other than DUI cases when DNA evidence is needed, such as in sexual assault, assault, and homicide cases.