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furture5oh
05-10-2008, 11:45 AM
I was just wondering if anyone uses those streamlight LED penlights for doing HGN on OWI stops? I thought it would be nice (because it gives them something to look at and I wouldnt have to fumble with a flashlight at night), but I dont want to use it and have negate the test.

AceCop
05-10-2008, 01:17 PM
In accordance with NHTSA light cannot be directly in their eyes while doing the test.

I think you would just be giving a defense attorney openings to ruin your tests.

furture5oh
05-10-2008, 04:10 PM
Thanks for the heads up. I wasnt sure if it was just blinking lights or if penlights counted

poolville02
05-11-2008, 01:26 AM
I was just asking some other officers at my dept about this. Most of the officers I know that do alot of DWI's use those pen lights....everyone seems to have a different color. I don't think any of them have had problems in court with that issue as long as they are facing away from traffic and the overhead lights are off. Also, if you zoom the camera in enough on the suspect to where his face/eyes are the only thing visible during the HGN test, they are not able to see what type stimulus you are using (IE: finger, pen, light, ect...).

AceCop
05-11-2008, 07:38 PM
Maybe things are done different down south but defense attorneys are very specific on the stimulus that we use. Using a finger is not a good one because the tip is the same color as the rest of your finger. White BIC pen with black tip is the best.

I agree a pen light would be great but as an SFST Instructor it clearly states do not night shine light directly in the suspects eyes (up for interpertation). I personally would not do anything to risk the most accurate test being thrown out.

AceCop
05-11-2008, 07:41 PM
What exactly do you mean that the camera doesn't even see the stimulus?

MT Guy
05-13-2008, 04:32 PM
i personally wouldnt use a pen light, what's wrong with a standard pen, get's the job done. also, why would you use your camera to record it? do you guys really do it that way, make sure the camera is focused on them during the tests? we do it off camera.

towncop
05-13-2008, 04:40 PM
I'm an SFST Instructor and using a pen light is absolutely a no-no. As AceCop said, NHTSA standards are VERY clear, light should NOT be shined into the subjects eyes. I don't care if you boys in Texas haven't had a problem with using them yet. You're doing it wrong and could get it handed to you in court when a good defense attorney finds out.

poolville02
05-13-2008, 06:11 PM
Maybe I did not make clear, the light is NOT used to shine IN the subject's eyes. It is pointed upwards with the tip of the index finger partially covering the light. This illuminates the finger so the subject can see it better. Yes, you can use your flashlight in your off hand but if your not careful it can wash out the video. If you have a good camera and get close enough, the jury is able to see the nystagmus. I personally have never used this method but have seen others do it with good success.

AceCop
05-13-2008, 08:11 PM
Sorry but I call Bull on the camera seeing the Nystagmus. You would have to dedicate one officer to manually using a camera and keeping a drunk in one place is a challenge in itself.

As far as the light pointing upwards it doesn't matter it is 12 to 15 inches from their face and it shines in their eyes.

Just for info if you do use your camera better make sure that your SFST's are perfect because the video will be heavily scrutinized (stop watch etc..)

NBW791
05-13-2008, 10:11 PM
I used to use a red Streamlight LED penlight and had them focus on the light. I never had a problem with it, but looking back, it was a bad idea.

If you're going to use a penlight, put your finger over the tip so your FINGER lights up and they're not looking right at the bulb. Apparently a good defense attorney can hire an expert doctor to testify an LED in the eyes is a bad thing.

A lot of guys use a pen or pencil with eraser.

PROS: The white tip of an eraser on a dark background at nice makes it an easy focus point for the drunk.
CONS: It's something else in your hand.

Now days I use my finger. In 5 years when I go to court on a DUI where somebody failed to appear for that long, I'll (hopefully) still have the stimulus I used to check his eyes! No, it doesn't contrast as well with the background, but as long as I confirm they can see the tip of my finger, I'm good to go.

Also on using those penlights, you're not using that to illuminate their eyes to see the HGN and thereby eliminating the need for a flashlight. If you want to see the clues, you'll still need a flashlight.

While we're talking about SFSTs, turn off your front lights and especially strobe lights. Makes it harder for everybody to see and I've been told once in a while strobe lights can give the appearance of HGN when it's not there. I had one experience with it, and I think it's true.

Lastly, use your video camera. Yes, it can open up a can of worms, but if you're doing things RIGHT, the way you were trained by NHTSA, you shouldn't have a problem. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million.

You can describe the clues all you want to a jury, but when they see a guy falling down on video they SEE him drunk and incapable of safely operating a vehicle; they don't have to paint the mental picture.

towncop
05-14-2008, 02:16 AM
Yeah, I call MAJOR BS to an in-car video camera picking up HGN clues. And I know you're not talking about using the penlight to shine in their eyes. We're all clear on that. It is still a NO-NO to use it in the manner you described.

DeputyZee
05-14-2008, 02:21 AM
Not written by me, but written well none-the-less;


This is a common defense tactic but generally used by less experienced, educated attorneys to try and trip up officers in court. My answer is going to be long but I am also going to try and be thorough in your answer as to why you should be using the pen light as opposed to a finger, pen, pencil etc. The first is safety. By putting a pen/pencil in your hand and holding it in front of a suspect you have introduced an edged weapon into the equation. I have seen a photo of a CHP officer who used a pencil and a guy grabbed it and buried it in her face. It will be harder to do with a light. That said, you can still do it and the chances are you will get through your career just fine. The argument against using the light is based on the lack of knowledge (and the hope you bite in court) about the eye. So here is your introduction to the eye and it's workings. The eye's movements are controlled by 13 muscles that work together very well until alcohol is introduced. Once that alcohol is introduced the muscles cease working well together and we see Gaze Nystagmus. This is observable in dark, light or anything else. What some people want you to think is that by introducing a light that this will somehow cause nystagmus because it is being shined in the eyes. All the introduction of light does is cause the pupils to possibly constrict a bit. The pupil (1 muscle) has nothing to do with the movements of the eye and simply controls the amount of light that is allowed in. Just as LASIK surgery, contacts etc etc will not effect HGN, a pen light being held up will certainly not either. The biggest benefit of using the light is visibility. The light offers a nice contrast and a focal point for the suspect. Pens, pencils and fingers don't have such a good contrast and the suspect will have a tendency to drift, even just a little, off of the focal point and this could cause you to miss clues. Having a light, especially at night gives the suspect something concrete to focus on and makes the HGN test even more accurate as you are controlling where the eye is focused. NHTSA recommends the light and there is a reason we train with the light and that is because it is simply what works the best. If an attorney would ask me, I would simply tell him that I use the light as a focal point, it has no effect on the way the eye moves and in and of itself, cannot induce nystagmus. I would also bring up that I know this through my training and would encourage you to invite me up or give my information to the prosecutor and have them call me. Personally, I like the Streamlight Stylus pen light. It comes in a variety of colors (color also does not make a difference) and they are durable and last forever. They are between $15-$20.

DeputyZee
05-14-2008, 02:30 AM
Straight from the NHTSA website.

http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/enforce/nystagmus/hgntxt.html

The HGN test requires only an object for subjects to follow with their eyes, such as a pen or the tip of a penlight.42

42 Research has shown that the characteristics of the stimulus used, including size, shape and brightness, have no affect on the HGN test results. Forkiotis, supra note 5, at 11.

NHTSA standards about light being shined in the eye have nothing to do with this. A penlight merely makes the tip glow and shines upward, not into an eye. To say a penlight should not be used is to misunderstand the NHTSA.

StudChris
05-14-2008, 06:15 AM
NHTSA absolutely 100% DOES NOT say don't use a penlight. NTHSA actually says it doesn't matter what you use as a stimulus, as long as the person doing the exercises can see it well enough to follow it with their eyes. Heck your gun could be an effective stimulus (although probably not a smart one). You should not have any emergency lights facing the subject, and you should not shine lights directly in their eyes... however there's nothing wrong with having them facing your headlights/takedowns (the more light to see their eyes bouncing all over the place the better). Remember, when we're talking pen lights... we're talking about a pen with a very small bulb on the tip that makes it glow... not a pen with a flashlight on the end.

Towncop, I see you're a SFST instructor. Are you just an instructor, or also a DRE? No offense, but you need to read the NHTSA standards again if you're saying a penlight as stimulus is an absolute no-no, then you need to re-read the NHTSA standards. Please don't take offense to me saying that... I misread stuff all the time.

I do agree, however, that seeing nystagmus on camera in the field is impossible. Unless you do all exercises in a perfect environment where you can put the camera on your shoulder, it's just not going to happen.

Want some advice on getting really good at reading nystagmus? Marry a woman who has natural nystagmus. Mine does... so I get to practice all day long.

One thing that is important when it comes to DUI, specifically HGN and if you ever want to become a DRE, is to start a logging your FSEs. On mine I put the date, the name of the person, the number of clues for each exercise (For example, on HGN most of my arrest have 6, some say 6 plus VGN). I then list their BAC (or refused), rather or not they were arrested (if not obviously BAC says N/A, we don't have pre-arrest PBTs), and the circumstances of the encounter (pattern stop, traffic crash, whatever). Get a few hundred logs under your belt, and with the right prosecutor asking the right questions the court will allow you to testify to nystagmus.

poolville02
05-14-2008, 10:27 AM
99.9% of the time we have a 2nd officer running the camera which allows him to zoom in on the subjects face during the HGN. This allows the jury to see just how much the subject is swaying back and forth while standing. And yes, if you have a good camera that is focused, it is possible to see the eye bouncing back and forth on the camera.....that of course depends on how intoxicated the individual is, video quality, ect..... I have even heard of some officers at other departments preform the HGN for a 2nd time (after the decision to arrest is made) with the subject standing directly in front of the bumper of the car, facing the camera, just to show the jury the HGN.

Not saying its right or wrong but, to me I think the more evidence the jury is able to see the better.

MT Guy
05-14-2008, 12:03 PM
like mentioned above, if you video your tests, just hope if they go to court you did everything absolutely by the book. we do ours off camera for that reason.

towncop
05-14-2008, 03:16 PM
NHTSA absolutely 100% DOES NOT say don't use a penlight. NTHSA actually says it doesn't matter what you use as a stimulus, as long as the person doing the exercises can see it well enough to follow it with their eyes. Heck your gun could be an effective stimulus (although probably not a smart one). You should not have any emergency lights facing the subject, and you should not shine lights directly in their eyes... however there's nothing wrong with having them facing your headlights/takedowns (the more light to see their eyes bouncing all over the place the better). Remember, when we're talking pen lights... we're talking about a pen with a very small bulb on the tip that makes it glow... not a pen with a flashlight on the end.

Towncop, I see you're a SFST instructor. Are you just an instructor, or also a DRE? No offense, but you need to read the NHTSA standards again if you're saying a penlight as stimulus is an absolute no-no, then you need to re-read the NHTSA standards. Please don't take offense to me saying that... I misread stuff all the time.

I do agree, however, that seeing nystagmus on camera in the field is impossible. Unless you do all exercises in a perfect environment where you can put the camera on your shoulder, it's just not going to happen.

Want some advice on getting really good at reading nystagmus? Marry a woman who has natural nystagmus. Mine does... so I get to practice all day long.

One thing that is important when it comes to DUI, specifically HGN and if you ever want to become a DRE, is to start a logging your FSEs. On mine I put the date, the name of the person, the number of clues for each exercise (For example, on HGN most of my arrest have 6, some say 6 plus VGN). I then list their BAC (or refused), rather or not they were arrested (if not obviously BAC says N/A, we don't have pre-arrest PBTs), and the circumstances of the encounter (pattern stop, traffic crash, whatever). Get a few hundred logs under your belt, and with the right prosecutor asking the right questions the court will allow you to testify to nystagmus.

I appreciate the way you singled me out here, thanks. ;) Since you admitted that you misread stuff all the time, you should read this thread again as there are a couple other SFST Instructors that are commenting here. We are in 100% agreement, the SFST manuals state that you should NOT use a light as a stimulus when conducting the HGN. I don't know how easier it can be for ya guys. And being a DRE has nothing to do with it.

You recommend logging your SFST's, well, guess what? This is now part of the refresher training on SFST's as NHTSA recommends doing this as well. All my officers are told to keep a running data sheet on the tests they perform as well as date/time/outcome and such.

As far as the court to allow you to testify to nystagmus after a few hundred tests, from what I read that seems to be a Florida thing. Most states will allow it. Here in Indiana, the courts recognize it and allow an officer, basically trained in HGN to testify in regards to the results.

You can keep your DRE voo-doo stuff. Who has time to perform all that crap between running radio calls? ;) No offense to you StudChris, but how many OWI's have you gotten and how long have you been a police officer? I've been an SFST Instructor for 8 years now and have more than 500 drunks under my belt. That may not sound like much, but when you consider the population of this area and little less than half of my career had been on dayshift, it's not too shabby.

StudChris
05-14-2008, 03:45 PM
I appreciate the way you singled me out here, thanks. ;) Since you admitted that you misread stuff all the time, you should read this thread again as there are a couple other SFST Instructors that are commenting here. We are in 100% agreement, the SFST manuals state that you should NOT use a light as a stimulus when conducting the HGN. I don't know how easier it can be for ya guys. And being a DRE has nothing to do with it.


"The HGN test requires only an object for subjects to follow with their eyes, such as a pen or the tip of a penlight.42"

That is a quote straight from the NHTSA.. so how can we still be in agreement that the manual says not to use a penlight?

As far as the rest of the questions, not as long as you, and not as many DUIs as you... but the original question isn't how long has StudChris been a cop, or how many DUIs does StudChris have... it's can you use a penlight.

MT Guy
05-14-2008, 05:15 PM
who cares if you can or can't, why not just use a regular pen. I don't get the big deal with using a stupid little pen light.

DOAcop38
05-14-2008, 05:19 PM
In accordance with NHTSA light cannot be directly in their eyes while doing the test.

I think you would just be giving a defense attorney openings to ruin your tests.

Just completed the IDAP course at LAPD academy (Impaired Driver Apprehension Program) its 40 hr Ca. POST cert'd and the prelim for DRE school ( will attend in June'08) -instructors said the SAME thing; the light can cause reactions that are adverse to the actual testing( fixation). since LAPD helped DEVELOP the standardized DWI(DUI) system which is used around the nation and even in many foreign nations,as well as the DRE program- i'd say that prohibiting the use of a pen light during the test is probably something they've had a "problem" with in court before....

towncop
05-14-2008, 08:10 PM
who cares if you can or can't, why not just use a regular pen. I don't get the big deal with using a stupid little pen light.
As an SFST Instructor, I do. I don't want officers out there performing bogus HGN tests and looking like idiots when on the stand. I'd hate to have to testify against the officer in saying that he performed the tests incorrectly and against teaching standards.

StudChris
05-14-2008, 10:29 PM
Oh by the way, I don't use penlights because I just don't like them... I just use the same silver pen I use for work. But you never have to worry about testifying against an officer and saying he is doing something wrong because he used a penlight... considering NHTSA points out penlights as something you can use.

towncop
05-14-2008, 11:23 PM
LOL.....ok. I'm done arguing with ya bud. As I said, been an SFST Instructor for over 8 years now, go to numerous DUI seminars, and other SFST Instructors are telling you the same thing......I don't understand what part you are missing. We get the updated material from NHTSA themselves!! :rolleyes: Good grief.

And I'll give you this.....you can use the tip of a penlight.......only if you don't turn it on!! ;)

suprtrpr
05-15-2008, 12:31 AM
towncop, i have a question for you to make sure that what i use as my stimulus is ok. i hate using a pen due to it being a potential weapon and with me concentrating on his eyes its tough to see his hands. i have a small popsicle stick that i carry with me all the time. on the end there is a red dot that i tell the subject to focus on as i look at his eyes. is this a good idea, or do i need to scrap that idea and just use the pen? i used to use my finger but i kept getting tired.

DeputyZee
05-15-2008, 04:04 AM
Wow, it is said how twisted the thoughts about this subject are.

The penlight IS recommeneded.

Shining a light IN THEIR FACE is not.

The penlight does NOT shine in their face.

A light will NOT affect the HGN of the eye.

AGAIN, for the 2nd time, here is the science...

The argument against using the light is based on the lack of knowledge (and the hope you bite in court) about the eye. So here is your introduction to the eye and it's workings. The eye's movements are controlled by 13 muscles that work together very well until alcohol is introduced. Once that alcohol is introduced the muscles cease working well together and we see Gaze Nystagmus. This is observable in dark, light or anything else. What some people want you to think is that by introducing a light that this will somehow cause nystagmus because it is being shined in the eyes. All the introduction of light does is cause the pupils to possibly constrict a bit. The pupil (1 muscle) has nothing to do with the movements of the eye and simply controls the amount of light that is allowed in. Just as LASIK surgery, contacts etc etc will not effect HGN, a pen light being held up will certainly not either.


It is very interesting how no one has posted anything from SFST saying NOT to use a penlight, they just say they "know" it is a mistake and they are done arguing about it. I cut and pasted from the manual and introduced science. Case closed.

towncop
05-15-2008, 04:22 AM
Then tell me, why are you told to have the subjects face away from your overheads/strobes? ;) And we're done arguing about it, because when a cop has a misguided idea planted into their head, they'll be damned to open their mind when someone calls them on it. I'm holding my instructor manual right now.......:rolleyes: *sigh* I knew I was right.

StudChris
05-15-2008, 07:21 AM
Then tell me, why are you told to have the subjects face away from your overheads/strobes? ;) And we're done arguing about it, because when a cop has a misguided idea planted into their head, they'll be damned to open their mind when someone calls them on it. I'm holding my instructor manual right now.......:rolleyes: *sigh* I knew I was right.

Because flashing lights can affect HGN.

Anyway... here's the facts. Does everyone use a penlight? No. Do a lot of people? Yes. Will you hear about it in court if you do use a penlight? Yes, because due to the fact that a lot of DUI lawyers are good at what they do, they will try anything to make you lose confidence in yourself and what you're doing, including stating that you cannot use a penlight when, in fact, NHTSA says you can.

Here's some kind of funny research. Go to google, and search for "NHTSA HGN penlight". I looked at every website on the first page, and every single one of them talks about the NHTSA standard for HGN, and the use of the penlight. The first link you'll get is to this website. The second you'll get is the NHTSA website. The rest are mostly DUI defense attorney websites. And big surprise, they all say the same thing. But you're right... someone does indeed have a misguided idea planted in their head and they refuse to open their mind.

Like I said though... I just use a regular pen because in this job you break pens all the time. The stick thing isn't a bad idea. It can still be used as a weapon, and you'll break it pretty quickly, but still not a bad idea.

Soooo in summary, yes you can... but it doesn't matter what you use as long as you get the morons off the road and do it correctly.

MT Guy
05-15-2008, 11:08 AM
i have never seen anyone use a pen light. what is wrong with a regular pen? this shouldn't be such a big argument, just use a pen or your finger, they both get the job done.

furture5oh
05-15-2008, 11:55 AM
Wow I never thought I would cause such a controversy.....I just wanted to see if it was ok to use my penlight

DeputyZee
05-15-2008, 12:12 PM
Towncop, again, your example is not a penlight. First, a light directly in the eye, now, the lightbar. Face it, a penlight is great for HGN.

MT Guy, a penlight will light up on the tip and is a little bigger. You'll get better results in my opinion.

Charlie705
05-16-2008, 10:03 AM
I had to weigh in.

And I guess this is important,

300 DWI's in 4 years
DRE
IO Operator

I use a penlight as do most of the DWI enforcement units here in Austin. Never had a problem in court over the type of stimulas. It actually helps the officer see the nystagmus better as the subject can see the stimulas and follow it better. I use the color green.

There are some units that record the Nystagmus by having the subject place his knees against the front bumper then lining up their camera at the subjects face. I have not used it yet because I have not had a reason. But it does have its advantages.

As far as court, I have found that once a case goes to court, no matter how good or bad the SFST test went, it can go either way. I have had what I thought was an airtight case with perfect SFST's(if there is such a thing) and I would lose. On the flip side, I've had an off night and my SFST's would be off with little or no clues apparent on the video and I got a guilty verdict.

I don't get to wrapped up on the outcome of court. Win or lose I jacked the subjects car, put them in jail, had them spend thousands of dollars in court fees and attorny fees and it was the single most important event in their life for 6 to 10 months. If this doesn't teach them not to drink and drive then nothing will.

I forgot about it after the affidavit was signed, the tape turned in and I get a minimum of 4 hours court at time and a half.

Fritter

safadoretornado
05-23-2008, 07:10 PM
I just finished the academy here in TN. We had the Governor's Highway Safety Office come out and do our DUI instruction, and one of my instructors, from the Metro Nashville DUI unit, specifically told us that he always uses a penlight and he recommended it to all of us, because it means that we can keep our weapon hand free and not have to hold a flashlight with one hand and a stimulus in the other.
They warned us about flashing lights, but all the instructors we had thought that a penlight would have no problem.

towncop
05-23-2008, 07:50 PM
Towncop, again, your example is not a penlight. First, a light directly in the eye, now, the lightbar. Face it, a penlight is great for HGN.
MT Guy, a penlight will light up on the tip and is a little bigger. You'll get better results in my opinion.
No, they're not. I find it funny how some of you guys have been through a class and say it's great and several of us on here are instructors and we have been told at the instructor level that they are a no-go. :rolleyes: To each his own. Do what you do, and I'll continue to teach my guys what I've been taught. ;)

DeputyZee
05-24-2008, 03:38 AM
I guess that just goes to show that some of us have been instructed by better people than the rest of us....


Just because you are an instructor doesn't mean anything in this arguement. I gave you scientific FACT that you have not even tried to unprove regarding how the eye physically works and the use of a penlight. Our NHTSA video on HGN was using a penlight in the dark to demonstrate the HGN............................................... I showed you where NHTSA RECOMMENDS using it, I presented to you scientific fact. Yet you are too stubborn and think your training is better. Well, I'm telling you, in this case, you have out-dated training. I would recommend not training others how you have been trained, it will just breed more officers who don't understand how HGN and penlights work.

Resq14
05-24-2008, 09:27 AM
Many in my area use a penlight.

I do.

It's suggested in the curriculum.

HGN is not magic. The penlight will not make nystagmus disappear, nor will it induce nystagmus. Those are the two concerns.

The longer I do this, the more annoyed I get with SFST over-analysis. The burden of proof for PC to arrest for OUI in my state is "impaired to the slightest degree." I hang my hat on that on every case. We have case law extending this to the mere odor of alcohol and red, glassy eyes.

I am a huge proponent for PBT use in enforcement activities.

towncop
05-24-2008, 04:00 PM
Outdated training, that's funny. Considering we have yearly updates at ILEA. :rolleyes: You've got about 15 minutes in law enforcement and you want to recommend something. Yeah, ok. Again, why can't you just let this go and agree to disagree?? Breeding officers that don't understand HGN and penlights? Are you for real? I don't even utilize penlights in training, but they (officers) get extensive training on detecting and understanding HGN. For you to think that you must have the penlight to understand and see HGN is truely laughable on your part.

I think it's funny that you've singled me out on here and decided to ride the issue into the ground, when it's obviously a losing cause on your end. Take care.

Resq14
05-24-2008, 04:28 PM
to think that you must have the penlight to understand and see HGN is truely laughable

I don't think anyone is saying "must."

I do think you are saying "never."

Using a penlight as a stimulus will not alter an evaluation for HGN. Whether you don't like them, disagree with them... whatever floats your boat.

FWIW - this topic was brought up on the NSTRC site... all 16 people who posted not only have no problem with it (personally or in court), but encourage it.

example: http://www.tampabays10.com/video/16x9/?aid=60704&sid=79355

DeputyZee
05-24-2008, 05:16 PM
When I say "HGN and penlight" I mean both together, not that they won't understand HGN. I mean that they won't understand about penlights and how they do not affect the HGN and the basic science behind the eye.

Yes, I haven't been in LE long. What in the world does that have to do with science? That is such a scapegoat on the arguement. I am new, so yes, when it was scientifically proven to me that penlights do NOT affect HGN and that only crackerbox lawyer tricks will try to argue that, I remember it all very vividly... because I am new. My training was not so long ago. I e-mailed my DRE instructor for further clarification just to be certain, his response was what I posted earlier with all the science.

Losing arguement? Not on this end. I don't care if you use a penlight or not, but I don't think you should tell people they shouldn't, especially when NHTSA recommends it's use!

towncop
05-24-2008, 05:29 PM
Not a losing argument on my end either, as apparently 4 other officers on this thread, from different parts of the country have been taught the same thing I have (and do) by NHTSA standards. So, bottom line, you do yours, and I'll do mine. ;)

Narco
05-24-2008, 05:36 PM
the penlight is VERTICAL so the light is not shining directly in their eyes...especially if you're using a softer light color like green or blue. there's no problem.

that aside, i don't think you should use anything other than your finger. ive seen 1st hand dui suspects grab the stimulus and use it as a weapon. it's not worth it. if any of you have an E.T. finger you should still be ok as long as you keep it vertical =)

MT Guy
05-26-2008, 01:26 AM
true a pen could be used as a weapon, but i think i can win that battle

Narco
05-26-2008, 03:20 AM
maybe, maybe not. you might kill him after its jabbed into your eye. you'll be thinking back...damn i shoulda listened to Narco! why even chance it?

DeputyZee
05-26-2008, 04:04 AM
A penlight would be hard to use as a weapon, it isn't very sharp. I'd prefer them to grab my penlight than my finger.

Narco
05-26-2008, 04:18 AM
you really dont think a penlight in your eyeball would cause serious bodily injury? dull or not its putting your eye out.

DeputyZee
05-26-2008, 03:12 PM
Well then, so would the drunk's finger if he just lunged out and poked my eye out. It would be a faster attack that way too.

I'd still rather not have my finger in his grip. If he takes the pen, I have an opportunity to seperate and utilize my taser, oc, or DAAT tactic.

That Guy
05-27-2008, 01:02 AM
And what if he summoned his dragon and it swooped down and bit my head off.....

DeputyZee
05-27-2008, 03:19 AM
Yes, very true.... That's why I said I'd rather give them a pen light than my finger. If you want your finger snapped, go right a head. I don't want that, my apologies...

Narco
05-27-2008, 02:59 PM
to each his own...

MT Guy
05-27-2008, 03:33 PM
no drunk has ever taken my pen from me, and none ever will, so i'm not really worried about it. plus if by some chance he did get it, my reaction time at it's slowest would be quickest to at least get out of reach before he try to jab me with it.

towncop
05-27-2008, 10:13 PM
no drunk has ever taken my pen from me, and none ever will, so i'm not really worried about it. plus if by some chance he did get it, my reaction time at it's slowest would be quickest to at least get out of reach before he try to jab me with it.
You'd better never, say never jedi. Always remember, that there is always someone out there that is bigger and badder than you are. ;)

Mike G from NC
05-28-2008, 12:04 AM
Use what you want and if you dont get it handed to you on the stand than good for you. I wouldnt use a penlight thats my preference. Can we stop the "My dog is bigger than your dog" crap.

Narco
05-29-2008, 01:26 AM
no drunk has ever taken my pen from me, and none ever will, so i'm not really worried about it. plus if by some chance he did get it, my reaction time at it's slowest would be quickest to at least get out of reach before he try to jab me with it.

wow, that's pretty arrogant thinking on your part. i'm sure lots of officers on that memorial in DC felt the same way. be smart, plan ahead, don't even give them the chance. if you're as good as you say you are it shouldn't matter though.

DeputyZee
05-29-2008, 04:09 AM
Narco, I wouldn't necessarily take his post as saying he would be un-tactical. It doesn't really say that. He could mean it won't happen because he is on the ball and won't give them a chance at it. There isn't anything wrong with that kind of thinking. We must have the never say die attitude.

MT Guy
05-29-2008, 12:26 PM
I wasn't trying to be arrogant. I know anything is a possibility. But at the same time, do you ever go into a fight knowing you aren't going to win, or try to arrest someone you know you aren't going to arrest? At least I don't, I'm in it to win it, period, that's just the attitude you've got to have. Plus by the time a drunk grabs my pen if he does, it gives me time to at least get out of his immediate reach and then start the thumping.

usmcrob
10-05-2008, 01:48 AM
I know this post is old, but I am going to weigh in as well, in case someone searches it later.

The 2006 NHTSA SFST Instructor Manual states, (regarding a stimulus) "The object may be the tip of a pen or penlight, the eraser on a pencil, or your fingertip which contrasts with the background."

The 2006 NHTSA SFST Practitioner Manual states, (regarding a stimulus) "The object may be the tip of a pen or penlight, the eraser on a pencil or your fingertip, whichever contrasts with the background." It also states a second time, "You will need a contrasting stimulus for the suspect to follow with their eyes. This can be the tip of your index finger, a penlight, or pen."

If a penlight is used, it is not pointed directly in to the subject’s eyes, it is pointed straight up or straight to the side (checking for vertical nystagmus). The LEDs on the penlight are directional, thus if you are holding the light vertically or horizontally, it will not shine the beam in the subject’s eyes, it merely gives them a contrasting stimulus to follow. To observe this for yourself, hold a penlight 12-15” away from a light colored wall. Turn on you penlight and hold it vertically (light pointing to the ceiling). You will the glow of the penlight dimly on the wall. Now point the penlight at the wall. You will see the beam of the penlight shining directly at the wall, similar to a flashlight. The amount of glow that is produced by the penlight that could show in a subjects face during HGN is going to be washed out by any additional light source that is being used in order to see the subject’s eyes (i.e. flashlight shining on the subjects chest, street lamps, overhead lights in a room, etc).

According to Dr. Karl Citek, OD, PhD, Pacific University College of Optometry (one of the Nation’s leading experts on HGN, and NHTSA SFST consultant), the stimulus used can be an officer’s finger, pen or penlight.

The reason that vehicle strobe lights should be turned off and the subject faced away from moving traffic is to eliminate the POSSIBILITY of opto-kinetic nystagmus. However, even if the subject is facing traffic and strobe lights, as long as the subject is focused on the stimulus, opto-kinetic nystagmus will not be present. Opto-kinetic nystagmus is caused by the eyes following rapidly moving objects. If the subject is following the stimulus, then they are not following any other objects.

Most of us on our DWI Enforcement Unit use penlights while conducting the HGN test. Most of the time our tests are performed in poorly lit areas and we wear very dark colored uniforms. The tip of a light colored pen would work and so would using our finger. We choose to use a penlight so that there can be no argument as to what we are asking the subject to look at. I even ask the subject what color light I am using so that I know he can see the stimulus and understands what I am asking him to follow. It is a personal preference on the part of the officer.

With regards to being able to see HGN/VGN on a video of the SFSTs, it is absolutely possible. Obviously it is not going to be seen with the camera zoomed way out, as it would be in order to video tape the subject’s performance on the SFSTs. However, if you have the subject stand close to the front of your patrol vehicle (I have them place their legs against my bumper) and zoom the camera in to where all you can see on your screen is the subject’s eyes, HGN is seen very easily on video. A second officer to hold or move the camera is helpful, but not absolutely necessary. Some of us on our unit do this on nearly every arrest, as HGN clues are the only ones not visible to the judge/jury on the video. And yes, by department policy, all of our SFSTs are recorded on video.

I’m not here to tell someone that they are right or wrong in using a penlight for a stimulus during HGN. If you were trained or instructed SPECIFICALLY not to use it, then I would not use it, because it is not how you were trained. However, the most recent NHTSA SFST manuals (02/06, both instructor and practitioner) state that a penlight is an appropriate stimulus.

Regards,

Rob
SFST Practitioner
SFST Instructor
Drug Recognition Expert
Law Enforcement Mobile Video Instructor
DWI Enforcement Unit