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DUI History: Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Training

Posted by attorney David Jolly

Published with permission from the book, DUI/DWI: The History of Driving Under the Influence, David N. Jolly. Outskirts Press (2009) The History of Law Enforcement Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Training A drug recognition expert or drug recognition evaluator (DRE) is a police officer who is trained to recognize impairment in drivers who are under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) coordinates the International Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. More information on the history of the DRE program will be covered in Chapter 5. Training for a drug recognition expert can only be undertaken once the law enforcement officer has completed basic training and is certified in the NHTSA standardized field sobriety testing. Once these formalities are met the officer is permitted to being the three-phase Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program, which includes three distinct phases. Phase One: The 16-hour DRE Pre-school includes an overview of the DRE evaluation procedures, the seven drug categories, eye examinations and proficiency in conducting the SFSTs. Phase Two: The 56-hour DRE School includes an overview of the drug evaluation procedures, expanded sessions on each drug category, drug combinations, examination of vital signs, case preparation, courtroom testimony, and Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) preparation. At the conclusion of the 7-days of training, the officer must successfully complete a written examination before moving to the third and final phase of training. Phase Three: During this phase the candidate must complete a minimum of 12 drug evaluations under the supervision of a trained DRE instructor, and lasts approximately 40-60 hours. Of those 12 evaluations, the officer must identify an individual under the influence of at least three of the seven drug categories and obtain a minimum 75% toxicological corroboration rate. The officer must then pass a final knowledge examination and be approved by two DRE instructors before being certified as a certified DRE. Presently 45 states in the US, plus the District of Columbia, are participating in the program. These states are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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