Chippewa Co. jail gets new automated breathalyzer kiosk

CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) -- A new piece of equipment is helping give jailers in Chippewa County more time to perform other duties.

An automated breathalyzer kiosk went into operation Friday at the jail. This new machine comes at no cost to the sheriff's department.

Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk says the machine is for people free on bond who are required by a judge to take a daily preliminary breath test showing there's no alcohol in their system.

Kowalczyk said after doing some research, the jail captain contacted the Minneapolis-based company, Precision Kiosk Technologies. He said the company provided the machine relatively free of charge.

There is a $3 fee to use the machine. Kowalczyk says the company will keep the $3 fee per test from the first 15 who use it daily. The county will get a percentage of any revenue generated thereafter. Anyone who uses the kiosk can pay with cash, credit card, and even pre-pay for future tests.

“On a given day we do anywhere between 10 and 15 tests a day,” said Kowalczyk.

He says the manual tests prior to the automated testing was done by a jailer and took anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes.

“This saves us time and effort in regards to testing each and every individual that comes in who is required to provide a sample,” said Kowalczyk.

According to the Precision Kiosk Technologies’ website, Chippewa County is the 6th county in Wisconsin to get one of the kiosks.

Kowalczyk says no one has failed a test yet, but if they do, the sheriff’s department is immediately notified on their computer systems.