Improving Law Enforcement through EyeGage Technology
With a breadth of knowledge within law enforcement, Tim Adams’ criminal law and police practices expertise guides the development of EyeGage through real-life scenarios to make our technology reliable. Formerly a police officer and detective with the Gulfport Police Department in Gulfport, Mississippi, Adams currently serves as an Assistant District Attorney at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston, Texas.
To understand how EyeGage can transform law enforcement for drivers, police officers, and prosecutors, we sat down with our Law Enforcement Advisor to connect what happens in the field with how our technology can improve and reduce alcohol-related traffic stops.
EyeGage: As a former Police Officer, how do you envision EyeGage innovating law enforcement? Specifically, traffic stops and the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST)?
Adams: Safety issues aside, an officer’s goal is to be accurate and efficient while carrying out his duties. I envision EyeGage assisting officers by serving as an investigatory tool used in conjunction with SFST to make an arrest decision for DWI/DUI cases. There is already an eye-test component of SFST, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, and it wouldn’t take much more of the officer’s time to incorporate an eye scan using EyeGage technology.
The three components of SFST are:
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test - involves following an object, usually a light or pen, with the eyes to determine characteristic eye movement reaction.
- The Walk-and-Turn Test - designed to measure a person's ability to follow directions and remember a series of steps, essentially dividing attention between physical and mental tasks.
- The One-Leg-Stand Test - requires the suspect to stand on one leg for their estimation of 30 seconds, in order to measure the subject’s balance, coordination, and sense of timing.
EyeGage: With your training and experience, what are some inefficiencies in administering a SFST?
Adams: Studies have shown that the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test is the most accurate of the three. It’s been my experience that HGN is also the most attacked of the three SFST during DWI/DUI prosecutions. This is typically due to an officer’s deviation from the national guidelines during administration.
Another issue with administering a SFST is an officer’s subjectivity. One officer may report observing six clues during an HGN test, while another officer could report that they observed four, two, or even zero clues from the same subject during the same test administration.
EyeGage: How would EyeGage’s process potentially reduce implications?
Adams: EyeGage technology uses on-screen instructions, and a scan would not be captured unless the instructions are followed to the letter. This eliminates the issue of administration error. Additionally with EyeGage Technology, eye scans are captured using identical processes and criteria. Therefore, lending itself to consistency and reliability.
EyeGage: With the proper field training, how could EyeGage improve traffic stops, and how would that impact potential DUI convictions?
Adams: Drivers could benefit by having an objective factor [EyeGage mobile application] involved in the traffic stop, as opposed to their freedom depending on an officer’s perception and interpretation of SFST results. Additionally, results from EyeGage’s scans could serve as exculpatory evidence in cases when the results suggest an absence of intoxicants; yet an arrest is made anyway and the case proceeds to prosecution.
For police officers, EyeGage could be an added layer of comfort in knowing that the correct arrest decision was made.
For prosecutors, a “positive” result from an eye scan could be another sign of intoxication to present to a jury - in addition to other signs such as driving facts, the officer’s observations of the driver’s appearance and behavior, the results of SFST, and the results of breath/blood/urine analysis.
EyeGage: Thank you for your responses so far, Tim! Last question, as EyeGage’s Law Enforcement Advisor, could you provide your opinion on where you see EyeGage in the future of law enforcement?
Adams: I’ll start by saying that I was elated to learn about the creation of EyeGage, and even more excited when I was asked to be involved in its development. I foresee the use of EyeGage technology to be as common as the use of an intoxilyzer device in alcohol-related investigations and prosecutions. I believe the technology has the potential to benefit all parties involved - from the driver, to the officer, to the prosecutor. Not to mention the potential for a reduction in alcohol-related traffic stops and prosecutions.
Tim Adams holds a BA, Criminal Justice from the University of Southern Mississippi and a JD from Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law.