In order to become a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) in Iowa, law enforcement officers train with individuals who are actually impaired due to drug use.
Officers throughout Iowa pick up impaired citizens off of the streets and bring them in to a testing center where trainees evaluate the citizens and determine what drugs have been taken, according to KCRG 9.
Drug users were found behind the wheel, in parked cars and wandering the streets. In exchange for their cooperation those not facing felony charges were offered lesser, or even no charges. Officials handled each drug user on a case-by-case basis, with some still being transported to jail due to additional felony charges while others received a safe ride home.
“Oftentimes we have to pull [law enforcement] back off the street and slow our process down because we have too many people for the amount of students we have,” Iowa City Police Sgt. Paul Batcheller told KCRG 9. “It is very scary, it’s like this every year.”
But the training is making a serious impact in Iowa City. Between 2005 and 2010, 161 were arrested on drugged driving charges, KCRG 9 reported. In 2013 alone there were 127 arrested on the same charges. A total of 67 people have been arrested so far in 2014.
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