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The Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DECP) focuses on training police officers to recognize when an individual has been driving under the influence of drugs and to identify the type of drug causing impairment. The DECP was developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and approved by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). The Pennsylvania DECP was initiated in 2004. Upon completion of their initial training, officers are certified as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) and become far more effective in identifying drug impaired individuals.
Drug Evaluation and Classification Program Training (top)
The Pennsylvania DECP will assist police officers in identifying the drug-impaired individual. Although the focus of the DRE curricula is on the identification of the drug-impaired driver, DRE skills are applied to many different law enforcement objectives. For example, DREs are frequently called upon to differentiate between drug influence and medical and/or mental disorders. Certified DREs are a valuable resource in combating the adverse impact of drugs in the communities we serve.
Due to limitations on class size, program requirements, and availability of funding, not all applicants are selected to attend. All applicants will receive written correspondence indicating acceptance or denial to the training at least fourteen (14) days prior to the start of training. It is essential that all applicants be committed and determined to successfully complete the training. DRE School is extremely intensive and demanding. To receive certification as a DRE, two (2) phases of training must be completed. The following paragraphs summarize each phase:
- ACADEMIC TRAINING
This phase is typically conducted over two-weeks (72 classroom hours). It includes courses in physiology, vital signs, standardized field sobriety testing (SFST), as well as extensive instruction on each of the seven (7) drug categories in the DECP. The training includes three (3) written examinations, an SFST proficiency examination and five (5) written quizzes. Students must achieve a minimum of 80% on each of the three (3) examinations, and must demonstrate proficiency in administering the SFSTs in order to progress to the certification phase. The academic training is conducted utilizing creative, participant-centered teaching techniques.
- CERTIFICATION PHASE
Upon successfully completing the academic portion, all students will be scheduled to attend the certification phase for at least five (5) consecutive days. It is the student’s responsibility to complete the certification requirements within a six-month period following the DRE school. The requirements of this phase include: conducting a minimum of twelve (12) drug influence evaluations while under the supervision of a DRE instructor; identifying subjects under the influence of three (3) of the seven (7) drug categories; and attaining a 75% toxicological confirmation rate. In addition, the student must maintain a progress log, rolling log and submit a quality resume. Finally, the student must pass a comprehensive final knowledge examination which takes approximately eight (8) to twelve (12) hours to complete and obtain the written endorsement of two (2) certified DRE instructors.
DRE certification is valid for two (2) years. In order to maintain certification, DREs must conduct a minimum of four (4) evaluations within this time period, submit a rolling log, submit a curriculum vitae, teach a minimum of eight (8) hours of DUI related material, and attend eight (8) hours of recertification training.
DRE School Prerequisites and Application
The following are the prerequisites for DRE School Candidates:
- NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) Practitioner
- NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) Instructor
- NHTSA Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) Training
- Class A Breath Test Operator (Preferred, not required)
- Minimum Experience – Three (3) Years
To apply for the DRE School please submit the following:
- DRE Candidate Application – contact Dave Andrascik at [email protected]
- Resume Highlighting Impaired Driver Training and Courtroom Testimony
- Letters of Recommendation from:
- Chief of Police
- Current Drug Recognition Expert or District Attorney (or designee)
Applications can be submitted via email to: [email protected] or mailed to:
Pennsylvania DUI Association
Attention: DRE Training
2413 North Front Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17110