A Jacksonville sheriff's deputy shot a suspect who led police on a chase.A Jacksonville sheriff's deputy shot a suspect who led police on a chase.
A Jacksonville sheriff's deputy shot a suspect who led police on a chase.

Sheriff’s Office drops unreliable cocaine testing kit

Published on September 29, 2023 at 11:36 am

After more than a decade, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has stopped using a field testing kit for cocaine because it gives false positives.

Prosecutors, public defenders and others have been told about the issues because the unreliable results could affect their cases.

Jacksonville Today thanks our sponsors. Become one.

State Attorney’s Office spokesman David Chapman said prosecutors met with law enforcement Thursday to learn about issues with the Scott Company Presumptive Field Testing Kit.

“We immediately informed the Public Defender’s Office, Regional Conflict Counsel, the chief judge and local criminal defense bar of this development,” Chapman said. “We are conducting a thorough review of cases potentially implicated to determine what actions need to be taken moving forward to address this issue.”

The Sheriff’s Office says it learned Wednesday that Scott Company’s kits were giving false results during a drug investigation in the jail. A narcotics detective determined that multiple over-the-counter substances that were not cocaine were indicating false positives.

Article continues below

Jacksonville Today thanks our sponsors. Become one.

The detective told his superiors, and Sheriff’s Office administrators told all officers to stop using the kits, police said. The Sheriff’s Office is investigating alternative testing kits.

The office said it has used Scott’s kits without issues for more than a decade.

“Many law enforcement agencies in Northeast Florida and across the country use and have used Scott Company Field-Testing Kits for Cocaine for many years without issue or incident,” a Sheriff’s Office statement said. “These kits were exclusively used as presumptive field tests, not for evidentiary purposes at criminal trials. JSO utilizes other test kits for other controlled substances.”

Police said there is no indication that any other field testing kit has issues.


author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.
author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.