ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) recognized 18 law enforcement officers from across New York State Wednesday, who completed extensive training and are now nationally certified Drug Recognition Experts (DREs). With this graduating class, New York State now has 369 certified DREs across the state.
|Tyler||Amo||Monroe County Sheriff’s Office|
|Eric||Corson||Lewiston Police Department|
|Michael||Ditondo||New York State Police|
|Alec||Edwards||New York State Police|
|Jacob||Fish||Cheektowaga Police Department|
|Edward||Helling||SUNY Buffalo State College University Police|
|Matthew||Hinz||New York State Police|
|Samantha||Jones||Niagara County Sheriff’s Office|
|Andrew||Kowalski||Orchard Park Police Department|
|Gerald||Ludwig||Monroe County Sheriff’s Office|
|Thomas||Miller||Amsterdam Police Department|
|Timothy||Murray||New York State Police|
|Nicholas||Ross||Niagara County Sheriff’s Office|
|Corey||Specht||East Aurora Police Department|
|Bryan||Warren||City of North Tonawanda Police Department|
|Aleksander||Wojciechowicz||Depew Police Department|
|Brenda||Yaeger||Tioga County Sheriff’s Office|
|Angel||Zapata||New York State Police|
DREs are used by law enforcement when a driver seems to be impaired and police have ruled out alcohol as the cause of impairment. A DRE receives extensive training that has been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). The training lets officers observe and document the signs and indicators of impairment within each of seven drug categories, including illicit and prescription drugs.
DREs can make arrests and take impaired drivers off the road regardless of the drug or drug combinations that are causing impairment. As part of their training, DRE graduates must complete a three-part program. The first two phases include a two-day introductory course, followed by 56 hours of instruction and a final exam.
In the third phase of training, DRE graduates are required to observe and identify drug categories and complete an additional final knowledge exam. After successfully completing the training, all DRE officers are certified for two years and are expected to meet certain requirements to be considered for re-certification at the end of this period.
Officers selected to participate in the DRE program must have a history of being proactive within their community and be well-trained in DWI detection. Only a handful of a large number of DRE applicants are selected to attend the training, which is sponsored by the GTSC and New York State STOP-DWI Foundation.