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HAMMOND — The city's Police Department is among 150 Indiana agencies receiving new portable breath test devices. 

More than 1,700 breathalyzers were purchased and distributed to local law enforcement agencies statewide, thanks to a $750,000 grant under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

According to a news release, officers in Hammond and elsewhere are receiving the new Alco-Sensor FSTs, mouthpieces and gas canisters used to calibrate readings.

The new devices include passive sniffers that can sense alcohol in the air around a person or an open container.

Over the coming year, an additional $310,000 is budgeted to purchase 725 breathalyzers for Indiana State Police, the release stated. 

The NHTSA funds were administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. It was the largest single purchase for the winning bidder, Intoximeters Inc.

“NHTSA is proud to be part of this very large purchase of portable breath tests, which will help fight the scourge of impaired driving,” John Balser, NHTSA regional deputy administrator, said. “Thank you to the ICJI, Lake County Traffic Safety Partnership and forward-thinking law-enforcement agencies across Indiana for your participation in this effort.”

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Public safety reporter

Lauren covers breaking news, crime and courts for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet covering government, public policy, and the region’s heroin epidemic. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.