Ft. Worth PD apologizes for officer participation in roadblock - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Ft. Worth PD apologizes for officer participation in roadblock survey

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FORT WORTH -

A lot of questions have come forth recently about Fort Worth Police officers participating in what they called a "voluntary" survey to test drivers for drugs and alcohol. But some of the drivers say it didn't feel voluntary at all.

A man who refused to participate feels that the program violated people's civil rights.

On Nov. 15, Alex Falter was driving on Sycamore School Road in south Fort Worth when he ran into a roadblock.

Two officers had the road down to one lane. They were working off duty, but in uniform, helping the U.S. Department of Transportation with its highway safety survey.

Falter says it was dark, and the officers used flashlights to wave drivers into a parking lot.

Falter says the people who approached his car were dressed in all blue, with official-looking windbreakers and baseball hats.

One of the men at Falter's window asked for a DNA sample to test for drugs and alcohol. Falter, who is a retired police officer, saw a little electronic box in the man's hand.

"And I realized he was scanning the vehicle, doing a breath test for alcohol," said Falter, who hadn't consented.

At that point, Falter felt his rights were being violated.

He told the man at the front of his car to move so that he could leave, and says that he doesn't feel that it's something the Fort Worth Police should be involved in.

Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffrey issued an apology this week, saying: "I agree with our citizens concerns and I apologize for our participation. Any future Federal survey of this nature, which jeopardizes the public's trust, will not be approved for the use of Fort Worth police."

Falter believes the officers should have known better and that their supervisors should not have signed off on the off-duty job.

"He needs to know what's going on in his department, and needs to make sure this doesn't happen again," said Falter, regarding the chief.

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