Why Are Feds Collecting “Cheek Swab” Samples in Reading?

Police deny that DNA is being collected.

Fox News has an interesting story: Officers at a checkpoint in Reading helped a federal contractor collect “cheek swabs” from motorists.

The checkpoint, in downtown Reading, was one of several conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, which was hired by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Although the questioning and cheek swab were voluntary, local residents said they were directed by police to pull over, and that the questioning was persistent, according to the Reading Eagle.

Reading Police Chief William Heim told the Reading Eagle the federal agencies are trying to see what can be done about crashes and injuries, and the swabs were not to get DNA samples but to test for the presence of prescription drugs. He said police were there for site security only and did not pull drivers over or ask questions.

Fox says the NHTC regularly conducts these surveys, but “law enforcement agencies in other jurisdictions have taken measures to ensure that motorists know it is a ‘paid volunteer survey,’ and that they do not have to pull over.”