Cop light to check eyes for nystagmus?

IMA SOL MAN

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The recent thread for an EMS pupil light made me think of how the LEOs use a small light to check DUI suspected drivers for nystagmus, and was wondering if the same light as EMS use for pupil checks would be the same, or if the LEOs need something a bit different. I know we have some ex-LEOs on here, so I would like to get their feedback, as well as any current active duty LEOs.
 

DRW

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We used our finger tip, telling the suspect to follow it with their eyes. Light was ambient, headlights on the cruiser usually provided plenty.
 

IMA SOL MAN

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We used our finger tip, telling the suspect to follow it with their eyes. Light was ambient, headlights on the cruiser usually provided plenty.
I think I have seen pens and small flashlights used on TV shows. Finger is cheaper and quicker, and likely more fulfilling--lot of people want to give impaired drivers a finger. ☝️
 

DRW

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I think I have seen pens and small flashlights used on TV shows. Finger is cheaper and quicker, and likely more fulfilling--lot of people want to give impaired drivers a finger. ☝️
I prosecuted my own cases, and the cases of our Officers in court. No way I would want to answer questions on cross examination about shining a light in the drunks eyes. One of the questions would eventually be "How does blinding someone with a flashlight affect horizontal gaze nystagmus?" It doesn't matter what the brightness of the light is, lumens and candela are meaningless in a criminal proceeding.
 

IMA SOL MAN

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I prosecuted my own cases, and the cases of our Officers in court. No way I would want to answer questions on cross examination about shining a light in the drunks eyes. One of the questions would eventually be "How does blinding someone with a flashlight affect horizontal gaze nystagmus?" It doesn't matter what the brightness of the light is, lumens and candela are meaningless in a criminal proceeding.
No, I didn't mean shining directly in their eyes, you addressed illumination with headlight ambient light.
As far as TV, they will hold a pen or small flashlight vertical to check the eyes.
 

rwolfenstein

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Speaking from experience, those old AAA streamlight stylus pen lights work wonders. However it is correct that a finger with ambient light works well too. Cause the focus is on the movement of the eyes not necessarily seeing the eyes. If your eyes are glassy and bloodshot, well there is a problem already. Also helps to ask someone if Mickey Mouse is a cat or a dog, not saying it works in court, but helps.
 
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I'm not an LEO, but holding a fingertip over an illuminated flashlight makes a nice glowing point for a person to follow with their eyes.

Like so:
image.jpg
 

DRW

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I'm not an LEO, but holding a fingertip over an illuminated flashlight makes a nice glowing point for a person to follow with their eyes.
Don't forget you are on the side of the road, cars are zipping by. You might have to fight the drunk. Think about all the other stuff a cop is likely to be carrying.

The Officer making the stop will be in control. Positioning the suspect correctly to optimize the HGN test. The suspect will be repositioned for any other tests that the Officer chooses to administer.

If an Officer isn't trained to put his finger over a tiny penlight, it's best not to try. Straying from training isn't much fun on cross examination, conversations with the Chief, or HR.
 
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Don't forget you are on the side of the road, cars are zipping by. You might have to fight the drunk. Think about all the other stuff a cop is likely to be carrying.

The Officer making the stop will be in control. Positioning the suspect correctly to optimize the HGN test. The suspect will be repositioned for any other tests that the Officer chooses to administer.

If an Officer isn't trained to put his finger over a tiny penlight, it's best not to try. Straying from training isn't much fun on cross examination, conversations with the Chief, or HR.
Like I said, I'm not an LEO and I'm sure there are many other factors to consider. My suggestion was in response to:
…"How does blinding someone with a flashlight affect horizontal gaze nystagmus?" It doesn't matter what the brightness of the light is, lumens and candela are meaningless in a criminal proceeding.
It's a technique used by some ophthalmologists as a clear point of light for the person to follow with their eyes without shining a light into eyes.

Just a casual suggestion for consideration. 😄
 

Got Lumens?

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From my limited experience retailing to LEO officers of all levels and agencies,
They are not required to carry such a pen light, only their standard duty flashlight.
Typically back 20+ years ago, the rechargeable Streamlights and Maglights were
the most popular. Now this could have changed since then, but the mission of
Public Safety remains a constant value. Regardless of advancements in flashlight
realm of on duty carry flashlights, it always falls back to the training. LEO's most of the
time do not think, they are trained to react appropriately to the given situation
and/or the environment in which they find themselves operating in.
 
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Madmax908

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Retired LEO Officer (25+ years) here that was assigned to Highway Patrol DWI enforcement and was also EMT certified for that duration.

The mag charger or stinger were our general use flashlight tools. My use with them in an EMT role (think traffic collisions) was to asses pupillary reaction to light in cases of trauma or consumption of drug intoxicants.

For the DWI enforcement role and detection of Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), I used a AAAA Streamlight Stylus pen light with a red light that fit in my shirt pocket. I had an attorney argue (in front of a jury) that the white lights were indistinct and would get lost in the crowd of the other lights around the roadway. The red light, when shown to the jury at trial, made a visual impression on them.
While there are several types of nystagmus, I only other checked vertical gaze nystagmus and lack of convergence with the red stylus.

While I didn't have an X21R, I did have access to a Nightsun when I needed it ;)
 
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