PRINCETON — Four members of the area’s law enforcement community have been selected to participate in Reconnaissance Expert (DRE) training in support of West Virginia’s Drug Evaluation and Classification Program .
Officer training will consist of three weeks of hands-on, field and classroom work beginning in April, Sgt. Adam Ballard of the West Virginia Coalfields High Way Safety Program said Monday. Although their total training time is close to 120 hours, it can easily be doubled if you take into account the extra work required to complete the course.
Sergeant F. Ingole and Patrolman A. Green of the Bluefield (WV) Police Department, Deputy N. Mason of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department and Sergeant J. Marcum of the Williamson Police Department were selected in this road safety region. There are eleven officers in total from all over WV who have been accepted into this next training class.
Upon successful completion of their training, these officers will be qualified to detect and identify people under the influence of drugs and to identify the class or classes of drugs causing the impairment using a standardized and systematic method, Ballard said.
“It will be a tremendous asset not only to their agency, but also to the community. They will be able to assist other law enforcement officers and agencies when dealing with drug impaired drivers, supporting impaired driving arrests, ensuring better cases prosecutions and ultimately removing impaired drivers from our roads. DREs make up approximately 1% of law enforcement officers in the United States,” Ballard said. “This program is not only used in the 50 plus DC states, but is also used in Canada and other countries around the world.”
There are currently about 33 certified DREs in West Virginia, including Ballard, who is a member of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) coordinates the International Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program with support from the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition to agents, who are certified as DREs, the DEC program educates prosecutors and toxicologists on the DRE process and drug categories. The WV DEC program is hosted by the Huntington Police Department and coordinated by Sergeant J. Koher with HPD. This WV program is supported by the WV Governor’s Traffic Safety Program.
— Contact Greg Jordan at [email protected]