What is a DRE?
A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) is an officer who has received specialized training and has been certified by the International Association of Chief's of Police to evaluate suspects and determine:
- If the subject is impaired
- What Drug category(s) is/are causing the impairment
- If a medical condition is causing the impairment
There are over 5,000 officers certified world wide…..this is less than 1/10 of 1 percent of all certified law enforcement officers.
What does it take to become a certified DRE?
The Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program has received international acclaim for its success in identifying the drug-impaired individual. Although the focus of the DRE curricula is on the identification of the drug-impaired driver, DRE skills are applied to many different law enforcement activities. These activities include screening of any individual who maybe under the influence of drugs such as students in our school system. In addition, DREs are frequently called upon to differentiate between drug influence and medical and/or mental disorders. The certified DRE is an extremely valuable tool for combating the adverse impact of drugs on the communities we serve.
DRE school is extremely demanding. To receive certification as a DRE, two phases of training must be completed. The following summarizes each phase:
This phase is typically conducted over two weeks (80 hours). It includes courses in physiology, vital signs, standardized field sobriety testing (SFST), as well as extensive material on each of the seven categories of the drugs of abuse. The training includes two written examinations, an SFST proficiency examination and five written quizzes. Students must achieve a minimum of 80% on the two examinations, and must demonstrate proficiency in administering the SFST in order to progress to the certification phase. The academic training is conducted utilizing creative, participant-centered teaching techniques.
After successfully completing the academic portion, the students return to their division of assignment. It is the student's responsibility to complete the certification requirements within six months following the DRE school. These requirements include: conducting a minimum of 12 drug influence evaluations while under the supervision of a DRE instructor; passing a comprehensive final knowledge examination, and obtaining the written endorsement of two certified DRE instructors.
How does a law enforcement officer in Florida become a DRE?
- The officer must submit an application to the State Coordinator, Kyle Clark (904) 620-4786.
- The officer must have completed the 24-hour NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Training and demonstrate proficiency in all tasks. The officer should have experience in detecting and arresting DUI's to include testimony in court.
- The officer must have completed the 16-hour NHTSA Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) course.
- The officer will be required to obtain a written endorsement from an Assistant State Attorney in the officer's circuit.
- The officer must also be recommended by his/her Chief or Sheriff and the recommendation of another DRE is highly recommended.
- Applicants can also receive information from one of the Regional DRE Coordinators.
This course is by application only, No registrations are accepted.
The next DRE School will be on April 29 to May 9, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.
For more information, please visit: www.decp.org
Please click here to download the DRE Application.
Officer Darrell Edmonds
Jacksonville Sheriffs Office
Sgt Chris Loyko
Lake County Sheriffs Office
Sgt. Allan Kolak
Cape Coral Police Department
Sgt. Robert Flarity
Miami Dade Police Department
The DRE Program is funded for Florida officers by the Florida Department of Transportation.