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Colorado Gains New Drug Recognition Experts through CDOT Program

November 12, 2015 - Traffic Safety - STATEWIDE— Today, 18 law enforcement agencies across Colorado gained the support and skills to keep our roadways safe from drug-impaired drivers.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is graduating 24 new Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) from a training program hosted by the Fountain Police Department. The nine day Drug Recognition Expert Training included officers from the Fountain Police Department, Colorado Springs Police Department, El Paso County, three Colorado State Patrol troops and others. The training was facilitated by the Central Mountain Training Foundation.

The graduation ceremony will take place in the early afternoon at the Fountain Police Department. 

“The officers who are graduating today are to be commended for their commitment to traffic safety and making our roads safer from impaired drivers,” said Carol Gould, Highway Safety Manager for CDOT. “With over 30 percent of deaths on our roadways attributed to impaired drivers, Drug Recognition Experts are critical to reducing that number and ultimately reaching our goal of zero deaths.”

The Colorado DRE program was founded in 1987 and is administered and funded by CDOT. The program trains peace officers to detect and articulate the signs, symptoms and indicia of drugs other than alcohol in subjects arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or other offenses. Colorado’s legalization of marijuana makes DREs a more valuable resource to an agency than ever before.

“The students in this class have endured a very intensive two weeks of training and have completed a series of tests and evaluations covering everything from drug categories to identifying subjects using drug combinations,” said Neal Tyler, Executive Director of the Central Mountain Training Foundation. “CDOT and their instructors have done an exceptional job in preparing these officers to identify any kind of drug impairment.”

There are currently 227 DREs in Colorado from 62 agencies. To become a Colorado DRE candidate, a Colorado peace officer must have support from the agency’s Chief or Sheriff to attend the entire training and successfully complete the approved Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) and the classroom format Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE).

For more information about the Colorado DRE program, visit codot.gov/safety/dre.

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