At roadblocks in the Alabama counties of St. Clair and Bibb counties last weekend, authorities asked for identification, proof of insurance, vehicle registration – and blood.
The off-duty officers were not posing as vampires, but asked for volunteers to give blood, mouth swabs, and other DNA samples as part of a nationwide study,
according to law enforcement officials. They offered motorists money in exchange for the samples last Friday and Saturday.
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The samples were anonymous.
"They want to find out of all the people surveyed, how many people were driving with alcohol in their system, or prescription drugs, things like that," Lt. Freddie Turrentine of the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department told Al.com.
Lt. Freddie Turrentine told the Birmingham News that the roadblocks were part of a study conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, a group that was working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs asked St. Clair County to participate because it had worked with the group before.
Off-duty St. Clair County deputies stopped cars at random roadblocks. The roadblocks were marked with signs stating it was a paid, voluntary survey. Drivers were offered $10 for a mouth swab and $50 for a blood test. If the driver refused, they were free to drive away.
Jose Ucles, a spokesman for the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, said the Office of Drug Control Policy is contributing funding and support for the study, which is taking place on 60 sites across the nation. He said the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation is conducting tests through this fall.
Turrentine told The Daily Caller he did not know how many people deputies sampled over the weekend but said that St. Clair County completed its portion of the study and would not be putting up more roadblocks.
He added that this was not the first time the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation conducted a nationwide study. The last survey was in 2007.
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