The DRE state coordinator is responsible for ensuring the International Standards of the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program are followed and oversees the training, certification procedures, and both certifies and recertifies drug recognition experts in their state.
DEC Program state coordinators are appointed by the state Office of Highway Safety.
The success and failure of a state DEC program and the DRE officers participating in the program can be greatly affected by improper or questionable practices. The DRE state coordinator must ensure that sound ethical principles are followed. This includes, but is not limited to, training records, the certification process, recertification and decertification procedures, courtroom testimony, report writing, and data collection and reporting.
The DRE state coordinator must be prepared to address issues that have the potential of bringing discredit or unfavorable attention to the program. It is extremely important that the state coordinator promote, practice and demand high ethical standards for those involved in the program.
DRE Steering Committees
Because various state coordinators have expanded roles and responsibilities some have developed and established state DRE Steering Committees that assist in the coordination and delivery of the program. A properly functioning and well coordinated Steering Committee can assist with:
- Selecting officers for DRE training
- Selecting DRE officers for DRE instructor school
- Selecting DRE school course managers
- DRE recertification procedures
- DRE decertification procedures
- DEC Program expansion
- Identifying and obtaining DRE funding
- Drafting and submitting legislative concepts to support the DEC Program
- Toxicology testing and lab support for the DEC Program
- Arrest and DRE evaluation process issues
- Prosecution/Judicial training to support the program
- Selection and appointments of local agency and/or regional coordinators
- Identifying recommendations for curriculum revisions
- Planning and coordinating DRE-related training events
As previously mentioned, the DRE state coordinator must ensure that DRE training is conducted within their state whenever needed and when resources and personnel allow. Preparing for and conducting a DRE school requires proper planning and coordination which include, but are not limited to:
- Selecting a geographical training location: Most DRE schools are conducted at a state or regional police training academy or at a location that supports DRE. When considering a new location within the state, the state coordinator should refer to the “Site Selection Criteria” and the Administrators Guide in the DRE School Instructor Manual for guidance.
- Selection of DRE candidates: Many states use a DRE school application process to assist in the selection of DRE candidates. However the selection process is accomplished, it is imperative that the best possible candidates are selected. Experience has shown that the best DRE candidates have a background in impaired driving enforcement, write above average reports, have courtroom experience, and will use the DRE skills in their assignments.
- Onsite physical needs for the school: There are numerous onsite needs or requirements for conducting a DRE school. They include, but are not limited to, lodging, meals, coffee for breaks, etc. Many of these are listed in the DRE School Checklist included with this document.
- Out-of-state instructors: If a state does not have adequate in-state DRE instructors and there is a need for out-of-state instructors, the state coordinator should contact the IACP for assistance.
- DRE school manuals and materials: State coordinators are required to print their own manuals, which can be located in the secure State Coordinator community page.
- Student equipment: A variety of specialized equipment is required for each DRE student in order to complete the training. Equipment purchases should be made in compliance with local or state purchasing procedures.
- DRE school schedule: Per IACP TAP recommendations, there are three DRE training schedules to choose from. The state coordinator should confer with the school course manager to determine the best and most appropriate schedule to use. Whichever schedule is used, the state coordinator must ensure that the school course manager and DRE instructors are familiar with the schedule of events and agenda and adhere to it.
- Coordinating and conducting the alcohol workshops: Due to the importance of these workshops, a great deal of planning and attention must be devoted to these two training sessions. Two alcohol workshops are required during the DRE training process: one during the DRE pre-school and one during the DRE school. Experience has shown live “wet” workshops work best for the students and also give the instructors a better understanding of the student’s skills.
- Field certification training: The field certification training can be one of the major obstacles in finalizing the DRE training process (refer to IACP International Standards, Standard 1.13). The state coordinator should examine the best options for completing this portion of the training.
- Maintaining DRE certification records: Many state coordinators maintain files of DREs trained under their jurisdiction. Records retained include copies of the IACP certification log, IACP DRE certification letters, their IACP DRE number and other pertinent information. Note: The retention of DRE file information should follow established state retention schedules and public disclosure rules.
- DRE recertification: Recertification is required every two years.(refer to IACP International Standards). The state coordinator must ensure that DREs are aware of their recertification requirements and dates. They must also ensure that recertification opportunities exist and that DRE instructors are available to assist in the process.