6-16 Field Drug Testing

Policy Type: Local

Approved By: Chief John Venuti, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department

Initial Policy Approved: 5/3012014

Current Revision Approved: 5/18/2017



The purpose of this directive is to establish the department's policy and procedures for the use of drug test kits. Due to health and safety concerns, department personnel are prohibited from conducting field drug testing on any powder-like substance(s). For the purpose of field drug testing, the ONLY test kits to be utilized are those authorized by the department and approved by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. Department of Forensic Science. The field drug testing kit shall only be conducted by a trained officer/examiner, under the best conditions possible, in accordance with all department instructions.


Accountability Statement

All employees are expected to fully comply with the guidelines and timelines set forth in this written directive. Failure to comply will result in appropriate corrective function. Responsibility rests with the division commander to ensure that any violations of policy are investigated and appropriate training, counseling, and/or disciplinary action is initiated.



  1. Department personnel are prohibited from conducting field drug testing on any powder-like substance(s). All power-like drug samples must be submitted to the State Lab for analysis.
  2. Drug test kits will be available to personnel who have been instructed on their use. The drug test kits will be stored at VCUPD Headquarters, and the tests shall not be removed from the testing site unless an extraordinary need exists. In the event of such extraordinary need, the authorized department personnel must document the removal of any drug testing kit form the testing site.
  3. The following equipment/supplies shall be located at the testing locations:
    1. Drug Test Kits
    2. Disposable gloves
    3. Cleaning solvent
    4. Paper towels
    5. VCUPD-77 Field Drug Test Form
    6. Material safety data sheets
    7. Biohazard disposal cans
  4. Department personnel utilizing the drug test kits shall attempt to identify the substance prior to performing the test by interviewing the suspect(s) and/or witnesses.
  5. The recorder of the evidence should perform the drug test. If the recorder of the evidence has not been trained on the use of the drug test kit, he/she will contact a trained examiner to conduct the test.
  6. Narcotics found in public places without a suspect (found on roadside, etc.) will not be tested.
  7. In all cases in which a sufficient amount of suspected narcotics are seized for analysis and the individual has been charged or charges are imminent, the substance shall be tested utilizing the drug test kits available at VCUPD Headquarters (EXCEPTION: Powder like-substances and paraphernalia containing residue will not be tested by department personnel. These types of items must be submitted to the State Lab for testing).
  8. Although the individual trained officer/examiner must determine the amount to be tested based on the available quantity, when a substantial volume of suspected narcotics narcotics is seized, the trained officer/examiner shall test the available substance.


Responsibilities of the Officer/Examiner

  1. To determine whether a subject is to be arrested and charged with an offense involving a suspected controlled substance for which field testing has been approved.
  2. To determine whether the substance being analyzed appears to be a controlled substance for which a field drug test is authorized and is quantities exist for analysis.
  3. Drug test kit results may be used in place of the certificate of analysis as permitted by Va. Code ยง19.2-188.1.
  4. If an officer is not a trained examiner, he/she shall contact a trained examiner to perform the test. If the examiner is not the recorder of the evidence, the examiner must sign the chain of custody on the evidence bag.
  5. To avoid any contamination of the testing area, the table must be wiped down with the cleaning solvent and paper towels after each use.
  6. If the test results come back "inconclusive," the suspect will not be released. The substance in question will be submitted, via routine departmental procedures. to the State Lab for further analysis.
  7. Record the test results on the VCUPD-77 Drug test Form and sign it. The officer shall also note that a field test was conducted in the narrative of the IBR. Supervisors shall, when reviewing IBRs and arrest reports, ensure that the officer has included documentation of the field test kit in the narrative.
  8. At the conclusion of the test, place the test in the palm of one hand and pull the disposable glove inside out with the field test now contained inside the glove.
  9. When logging the drugs as evidence, ONLY dispose of the used test equipment safely in the Sharps container located in the basement level of VCUPD Headquarters in the Property and Evidence processing area. DO NOT leave the tests at any crime scene or other location.
  10. Follow all departmental procedures set forth in Written Directive 3-5 Property and Evidence Management for the handling of drugs.
  11. Disseminate the VCUPD-77 Field Drug Test Form as follows:
    1. Original - General District Court (Officers shall staple the form to the original warrant or summons)
    2. Copy 1 - Attach to the evidence bag
    3. Copy 2 - Officer's copy
  12. The VCUPD-77 Field Drug Test Form will become a part of the case file.


Revision History

5/30/2014 - 6-16 Field Drug testing