The Alcovisor – Mark V: "Any Objections?"

November 3, 2015 - Training (FTO)

     Yes, it’s true, even the best of products ever invented had their initial objections by potential users.  Automobiles were seen by some as intrusions on otherwise peaceful common walking areas, but cities changed to handle the new technology.  Another invention, the telephone, was thought to be a gift from the devil.  But, fortunately we are not fighting cities or religions; we are just trying to come up with the best products that law enforcement can use.

     The Alcovisor- Mark V, or Mark V as it is referred to, is a ground-breaking product for the twenty-first century.  It is intuitive to use, and has many features that the competition simply does not offer.  Many agencies all over the United States, and throughout the world, have found it to be very reliable and extremely accurate.  This is proven by the fact that so many customers keep coming back for more.

     As I go around to the different law enforcement agencies and academies doing training on, and presentations of the Mark V, I have come across a few training nuances that I think may be worth sharing.  If not addressed, these items may become indelible in the annals of training materials throughout the law enforcement community.  Examples where this has happened are, for instance, the term “sweep error” when dealing with lasers in speed enforcement, or “false positives” when dealing with many types of sensing equipment in investigations.  These terms tend to scare away officers who are in the process of learning, and they have no merit in the science behind the device.  “Sweep error” and “false positive” refer to an investigative conclusion, however inaccurate, and not to what the device is capable of doing, or not doing.  So, let’s nip a few of these in the bud.

     Objection #1:  Holding the mark V and getting air blown on you.  Well, I am sorry, but this one can be said about most hand-held PBTs.  It is a training issue.  It is a matter of stance and being at the ready for a troubled subject to start swinging.  It is the same in all types of equipment; even the Glock has its own stance.  Basically just put the mouthpiece into the inlet port either forward or reverse; it goes in either side.  Then depending on your personal preference, stand at a diagonal from the subject ready to make a move if needed.  You can watch the screen if you want to (there is a countdown graph), or you can rely on the audio tone, it has both.  The breath sample is automatic.  If you are in a situation where you cannot do either the visual or the audio confirmation, simply push the manual button with your thumb, as you hold the device. 

     It is all a matter of practice and what feels most comfortable for you as a trained officer.  With the Mark V giving you two options as to how you put the mouthpiece in, and the third option of pressing the manual button, there should never be a cause for concern while using the device in a potentially volatile situation.

     Objection #2:  Touching the mouthpiece when done.  If you are like me, you don’t like touching things that may have germs.  Proper training for readiness and device holding will alleviate this as well.  The Mark V is designed to be used in any situation.  In a hospital setting and in private testing, they usually wear gloves of some kind.  But in law enforcement, you don’t always get to wear them.  So, the next best thing is something that many officers have discovered. 

     After the subject has given their sample, simply hold the device near the bottom and with a quick flick of the wrist; push the mouthpiece against your leg, duty belt, or boot-top.  The mouthpiece should just pop out; it is designed to pop out easily.  If it does not come out all the way, especially when the device is still new, then simply grab the mouthpiece behind where the subject put their lips, and give it a little help.  It is easy to see the built in ridge on the mouthpiece.  This technique is very easy to do.  There are many hazards in law enforcement, with the right technique you never have to touch a used mouthpiece.

     Objection #3:  Complicated to use.  Well, pretend you are looking at the device and do not know anything about how it works.  Even if you are a certified B.A.T. Supervisor, it may look intimidating at first.  You may say to yourself, I just want to do a quick breath test and get this subject to jail.  Yes, the Mark V has overcome this objection too.  A quick training on the features and buttons takes care of any worries.  It is just a matter of familiarizing yourself before you use it.

     "Simply turn it on, insert the mouthpiece, hold it up, instruct the subject to blow, read the readout.  That is literally all you have to do.  It will turn off by itself."

     As you get to know the device you will begin to see that if you want to write an event report, with actual evidence to back what you are saying, you can do that with the help of the Mark V.  Also, while still out on the road, you may want to go back through the Mark V to double check results.  You can do that too since it stores the tests. Everything is saved and can be recalled either individually or in groups.  If you choose to, you can upload them to a computer.

     Objection #4:  No where to put the device when done taking breath sample.  The Mark V has a place to install a lanyard.   PAS Systems sells them for $9.99 or you may be able to get one at your local phone store or sporting goods store.  After interviewing several officers, the conclusion is that the best thing to do, when done taking breath sample, is to hang it from your duty belt around one of your more “taller” tools; pepper spray holder, ASP holder, etc.  Then that way you can avoid the hazard of setting it on your car and driving off with it still up there.   All equipment used at traffic-stops has the unique ability to be used one more time if taken care of; if your subject doesn’t get too crazy that is.

     All in all, the Mark V may be the best tool you will ever use to check roadside sobriety. It is definitely worth trying out to see if you think they would be a good part of your equipment base.  Not all of the benefits of the Mark V were mentioned here; this was just to go over a couple of training nuances that will aid in the uses and the longevity of the device.

     If you would like to order a Mark V to see if it would be a good fit for your department, or to order a whole fleet of them; please visit our web page and click “Add to Cart”.

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