A ten-day school starts today (Monday) in Ames that will train a select group of Iowa law officers how to spot motorists who aren’t necessarily driving drunk — but who are driving drugged. Former state trooper Denny Becker is running the Drug Recognition Expert training program for the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau.Becker says “Drug-impaired drivers are drivers that are abusing prescription, over-the-counter or illegal drugs and officers are not trained enough to recognize drug-impaired drivers.” This class of 16 law officers from across Iowa includes sheriff’s deputies, police officers, state troopers and D-O-T enforcement officers. There are only 117 officers in 50 Iowa counties who are trained as D-R-Es or drug recognition experts. Becker says the state needs many more D-R-Es as drugged drivers kill ten to 15 people in Iowa crashes every year.Many people might think they could spot someone who’s stoned — bloodshot eyes, droopy eyelids, slurring speech — but Becker says there’s a lot more involved for a law officer to be able to identify, apprehend and prosecute someone for drug-impaired driving. He says the signs and symptoms aren’t always that obvious. The D-R-E-trained officers learn the impairment indicators of seven key drug types, including marijuana, depressants, stimulants, inhalants and P-C-P. Becker says more than half of the drunk driving samples sent to the D-C-I lab contain one or more drugs -other- than alcohol.
You are here: / / School trains law officers to spot drugged drivers