More info on blood alcohol draws, etc.

Dateline: Thu 19 Apr 2012

Please consider the following info from a California website that explains a bit about the difficulties of conducting a blood draw with intent of proving blood-alcohol content and/or impairment (and yes, an alcohol-free wipe should be used...but that's only the beginning of possible complications):

"One common error in BAC blood-testing is improper blood-drawing procedures. In a BAC test, blood should be drawn into a glass tube that contains a white powder in the bottom the white powder is a mixture of preservative and anticoagulant. If there are improper levels of preservative in the sample, the blood sample can actually ferment, creating alcohol. If the sample does not contain enough anticoagulant, the blood will clot, reflecting an artificially high blood alcohol level. Independent testing will reveal such instances. Thus, it is to the DUI defendants best advantage to have his or her blood sample independently tested.

"In addition to proper use of preservative and anticoagulant, the blood must be drawn by a person certified to perform the draw. The drivers arm must be wiped with an alcohol-free wipe. Once drawn, the blood sample must be shaken in order to thoroughly distribute the anticoagulant and preservative. The sample must be kept in a controlled environment in order to preserve the quality of the sample. Therefore, it is beneficial in pursuing a DUI defense to identify the chain of custody in order to fully understand who had access to the sample, and how it was stored.

"Even if a blood sample was properly drawn and stored, its important to note that while chemical testing may be accurate to determine blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) at the time of testing, it is not conclusive evidence of BAC at the time of driving. It is not illegal to be above the legal limit while in a police station; the crime is driving under the influence, or driving above the legal limit, not having a BAC above the legal limit at a later time. Because alcohol levels change over time, this is a critical point to understand."

My biggest bone to pick in the coverage of the David Bisard case is that the intricacies of performing this sort of test have not been explained to the public by our mainstream media -- at least, not that I can locate. If some intrepid soul has done so, I take off my non-existent press badge to you.

Another point: whether you all believe this or not is almost incidental, since, I am told, this is what the Indy police, firefighters and in general our public safety folks believe, at least the rank and file. It is unusual for firefighters to have the backs of cops, but many of them do, in this instance. The think Bisard got dealt a bad hand with this bogus or poorly executed blood draw. Thus they think the .19 result is a lot of empty fumes.

Lots of scuttlebutt about this case that you are not reading about in the Star, NUVO, etc., or hearing on the TV or radio.




hendy [Member] said:

The scuttlebutt wouldn't be here if the job had been done correctly in the first place. That's why referential integrity of tests are so important to the law: you argue evidence and facts, as those are what convict.

The actual blood alcohol and impairment will now never be known for Bisart. Intrepid reporting is not a hallmark of The Star. Or of the Marion County police forces, at this rate. This is where leadership, standards, procedure (no matter how superficially daunting) becomes mandated. What you have right now is: lip service.

2012-04-19 15:25:40

indykjsharp [unverified] said:

Ruth, you'll never stop being a reporter!

2012-04-19 20:13:14

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

What is indisputable is that Bisard ran into two stopped motorcycles, killing one person and severely injuring two others. The murky blood draw will not restore Bisard's job as a cop any more than it restores life to the victim. What is going on now is the parsing of his prison sentence.
The clusterf**k surrounding the blood draw certainly will give ammo to defense attorneys in Marion County, tho.

2012-04-20 06:22:49

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Tom has hit the point precisely. Now, about the public safety officers and their view on this sordid affair:

I care about and suopport those first-responders. I cut them a lot of slack whenever a question of alleged impropriety arises. The split-second decisions they ahve to make are overwhelming. I've been helped by them--even recently--and their daily routines are daunting at best.

But I have to tell them, politely: you are not objective on this matter. Your opinions about the personality of Mr. Bissard are borderline appropriate, in the public arena, anyway.

If you were there, I have tremendous respect for your opinion, if you are allowed to speak about it. If you were not there, you are speculating, just like most of us. Please don't add to the mess with your behind-the-scenes running commentary. Let's stick to facts, which Tom, above, has done.

If Bissard had been drinking within 12 hours of his shift, he violated standing orders and common sense. I know LEOs who have been called to come in when they're on scheduled days-off, and if they've been drinking ink the prior 12 hours, they refuse. Correctly.

And let's remember the original facts about this case, which are not in dispute: Bissard heard a service-call from halfway across town. Two probation officers were trying to serve a warrant on a non-violent suspect. They had him cornered and called for help. Bissard recklessly rushed to the scene with little regard for personal property or life. His cowboy and cavalier attitude were not needed. The results are obvious.

The vaunted IMPD missed on Bissad's personality traits, during his job interview and vetting. I'm told his prior record at the Noblesville PD inclulded some pretty public and pesky indicents, including a crash. Were we that desparate that we suspended reality and hired this loose cannon?

Look at the damage that decision has cost us, as a city.

And now, as of late yesterday, the Public Safety Director says the prosecutor's office was told much sooner than they've let on....about this vial of blood. The prosecutor said last night: "I watched those comments, and it's just not true."

I'm with Terry Curry on this one.

And that means Straub has to go.

2012-04-20 07:47:17

michaelk [Member] said:

Bearing in mind that first search result comes from a DUI lawyer site, that's focused on means of creating reasonable doubt to avoid conviction, not on empirical scientific evidence.

Looking into an actual study:


Fifty-six paired venous blood samples were obtained from volunteers. Mean BAL in the isopropyl alcohol-swabbed group was 3.27 mg/dL with a standard deviation of 1.14 mg/dL. Mean BAL in the saline-swabbed group was 3.41 mg/dL with a standard deviation of 1.11 mg/dL. The mean difference was 0.14 mg/dL, with a standard error of 0.157. There was no statistically significant difference between the groups.


The present study demonstrated that the use of 70% isopropyl alcohol swabs does not significantly affect BAL when used before venepuncture. This has implications that challenge current forensic blood alcohol sample acquisition.

There's no data to suggest that there's any difference, but it doesn't surprise me that most people are willing to believe an alcohol swab will taint anyway. Most of the reason for avoiding using the alcohol swab has nothing to do with actual results and everything to do with what people want to believe.

"Another point: whether you all believe this or not is almost incidental, since, I am told, this is what the Indy police, firefighters and in general our public safety folks believe, at least the rank and file."

Then they clearly don't seem to know any better than any other person, their opinion isn't all that special or better-informed.

2012-04-20 14:23:15

Jason [unverified] said:

The reason a betadine prep is used intead of rubbing alcohol is to prevent the "idiot juror" effect. You don't have to claim science in a courtroom, you simply have to create subjectively reasonable doubt in even one juror to get a win. "Subjectively" being the key word. Defense attorneys are allowed to throw random things at the wall to see if they will stick. Case in point: there is absolutely NO scientific evidence that Tasers can cause heart attacks (nowhere near the amps, though they once Tasered a pig to death by holding down the trigger for 45 minutes.) However, due to losses in court, Taser International is suggesting that Officers aim for the lower abdomen. Courtrooms aren't scientific. They're generally aimed at the lowest common denominator. Either way, my understanding is you are correct, an alcohol wipe doesn't have any real effect either way. My understanding is that if it did it's highly unlikely a reading would be altered but still within an acceptable range.

I know there's been a lot of revisionist history painting Bisard as some kind of rogue vagabond or worse. That simply isn't true, his record doesn't speak to any of that. Nor do any of his coworkers. There is justifiable condemnation of his actions that fateful day, but the infuriating truth that drives people mad is that before this incident he was NOT the kind of officer that generated lots of lawsuits, IA complaints, and negative media coverage.

2012-04-21 03:52:22

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Uh, Jason, check yourself. Bisard's past was checkered.

HIs judgment that day can't be isolated. Human beings don't operate that way, unelss they're rogue.

This isn't going to end well, for anyone. All because a cowboy thought he's race halfway across town to help some probation officers apprehend a shy probie.

2012-04-21 09:29:05

Jason [unverified] said:

I'm not sure where you were told about a "checkered past." Whoever reported that was incorrect.

2012-04-23 09:27:20

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

His Noblesville PD experience didn't include a police car crashing into a commercial building, with questionable details?

2012-04-23 19:22:27

Jason [unverified] said:

The suggestion, of course, being that he intentionally, recklessly, or drunkenly drove a police car into a commercial building what, 15 years ago? That goes further to contradict your point than prove it. Is this a pattern of misconduct that rears it's ugly head once every decade or two?

Was this accident deemed non-preventable? Was it deemed preventable? Was it during a pursuit? Was he swerving to miss a passerby? Looks to be one of those situations where "questionable details" means "fill in the blank."

I certainly don't give the local media much credit, but I'm fairly certain by this point they've gone through his record with a fine-toothed comb. The silence on this one is more from them NOT finding what they thought they would.

2012-04-24 09:45:52

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I'm told that his NPD accident investigation concluded with a reprimand put in his file. Yet, he was hired by IMPD.

The problem is, there are more than a few Bisards running around with IMPD uniforms. They sully the reputation of the overwhelming majority of IMPD officers who do outstanding jobs.

Local media looking into it? Are you stoned? Who exactly in the local media would do that? Specifically, what reporter(s) have done a passing job reporting on this story?

The main reason Bisard was speeding snywhere was reported only minimally, and it's a dumb reason. He was speeding across five or six patrol zones to help two probation officers track down a speedy probie. He smelled action, and there wasn't enough around him in his own area.

But you've peaked my interest. I'm going to ask some folks who ought to know, about Bisard's NPD experience. So that I can confirm the stories I've heard, which also came from reliable sources.

But I can't escape the conclusion that the Bisard behavior had to be noticed before that fateful day. By anyone with moderate HR experience.

2012-04-24 15:52:16

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