Some people are raising questions about traffic stops in Saint Clair County where drivers were asked for DNA and blood samples. This occurred at multiple locations across the county Friday and Saturday.
Off duty St. Clair County Sheriff's deputies were taking part in the program. It's was a voluntary survey conducted by a Maryland company, Pacific Institute and Research Evaluation. The survey was paid for the National Highway Safety Administration.* Lt. Freddie Turrentine with the St. Clair County Sheriff's Office said this was a voluntary program and no driver's personal information was requested.
"Several of them pulled over there and start talking to them and decided they did not want to do it. They would let them leave. Nobody was forced to do it. Nobody suffered any consequences for not doing it," Turrentine said.
If they wanted to participate, drivers could earn $10 for DNA swaps and $50 for blood samples. The information would be used to identify those who are driving under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs. Turrentine said due to social media and to recent disclosures of probes by the IRS and phone taps more people are questioning this action. Turrentine said St. Clair County conducted a similar survey back in 2007. Turrentine said the goal of the research company is to gather around 750 participants from 60 different locations across the country. Gardendale Senator Scott Beason questioned spending taxpayer's dollars on the survey and why an Alabama state agency was involved.
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that a federal grant came through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. ADECA was not involved with the roadblocks.
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