BISMARCK, ND - Today, fifteen law enforcement officers across the state of North Dakota graduated from the Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) program, which trains officers and other approved public safety officials to become Drug Recognition Experts (DRE). This is a three-phase training process with over 130 hours of training that provides skills in the detection and identification of persons impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. There are 60 DREs throughout North Dakota and this graduating class will bring the total to 75 certified DRE officers and/or public safety officials.
“This training program is a great opportunity to learn more about the standardized field sobriety tests, which provides the foundation for this program,” stated Sergeant Travis Skar, North Dakota Highway Patrol, North Dakota State DRE Coordinator. “Once trained and certified, DREs are highly effective in detecting alcohol and/or drug impairment in individuals. Being able to recognize impairment and remove these motorists from the roads will prevent tragedies from occurring and help reach our statewide traffic safety goal of zero motor vehicle fatalities.”
The fifteen graduates are Ben Swenson, Bismarck Police Department; Jared Lemieux, Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department; Cole Thomsen, Cass County Sheriff’s Office; Keegan Murphy, Cass County Sheriff’s Office; Ian Wise, Dickinson Police Department; Adam Gossen, Fargo Police Department; Matt Woodley, Grand Forks Police Department; Kyle Giersdorf, McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office; Joshua Noyes, Minot Police Department; Timothy Frank, North Dakota Highway Patrol; Brian Larson, North Dakota Highway Patrol; Ryan Haskell, West Fargo Police Department; Kyle Johnson, West Fargo Police Department; Jacob Koehn, Williston Police Department; and Craig Ware, Williston Police Department.
These officers are now required to complete a third phase which is a minimum of 12 drug evaluations under the supervision of a trained DRE instructor. As part of this, the graduate must also pass a final knowledge examination and be approved by two DRE instructors before being certified as a DRE.
This program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It is funded through the North Dakota Department of Transportation and is supported nationally by the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Bar Association and the National commission Against Drunk Driving, to name a few.