Twenty-Four Drug Recognition Experts Graduate Tomorrow

June 12, 2013 - Traffic Safety - Law Enforcement Officers Receive Training to Better Recognize Drug Impairment.

STATEWIDE—Twenty-four Colorado law enforcement officers graduate tomorrow from Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) training, joining 183 other DREs in the state. A DRE is a law enforcement officer trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol. The training took place in Avon and was coordinated through The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The training includes a 12-step evaluation consisting of physical, mental and medical components. The training teaches  officers be able to describe the involvement of drugs in impaired driving crashes , recognize the effects of the seven drug categories, properly administer evaluations and complete the necessary reporting.

“From 2010 to 2011, there was a 15 percent increase in drivers of fatal crashes who tested positive for drugs,” said Glenn Davis, Highway Safety Manager at CDOT and former DRE. “This alone makes this specialized expertise so critical for keeping Colorado roads safe from impaired drivers.”

DRE training originated with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in the early 1970’s when officers noticed that many individuals arrested for impaired driving had very low or zero blood alcohol concentrations. The officers reasonably suspected that the arrestees were under the influence of drugs, but lacked the knowledge and skills to support their suspicions. Two LAPD sergeants partnered with medical doctors, research psychologists and other medical professionals to develop a simple, standardized procedure for recognizing drug influence and impairment. Their efforts resulted in the development of a multi-step protocol and the first DRE program.

“This year’s DRE graduates represent the Colorado State Patrol and law enforcement from areas such as Avon, Englewood, Wheat Ridge, Vail and Denver,” said Davis. “Our goal is to have 300 DREs in Colorado by 2015.”

For more information on the DRE program, visit