Louisiana State Police is holding a Drug Recognition certification class this week at LSP Headquarters in Baton Rouge.
As a Drug Recognition Expert, an officer is specially trained to conduct an examination on a person to determine if the person is impaired and, if so, whether the impairment is caused by drug use or by a medical condition. Once the examination is completed the DRE is able to determine which drug category or categories the person has used.
Trooper Kenny LaMulle is one of 13 officers taking the class this week. These officers believe this course will make them better and more useful at their jobs. LaMulle says, “Becoming a Drug Recognition Expert will greatly-enhance my professional value to LSP and the state of Louisiana. The certification and subsequent training provides elite-level skills that will greatly-enhance the credibility of my DWI arrests.”
Of all of the certified police officers in Louisiana (local, parish, and state), there are only 97 current Drug Recognition Experts.
Being experts in drug recognition, these officers can be more efficient in taking dangerous people off the streets. One of LSP’s main focuses is to tackle drunk driving. This certification increases an officer’s ability to detect otherwise difficult signs of drug abuse, especially when it comes to driving under the influence.
The Drug Recognition course takes a week to complete, and a lot of the officers participating stay at the headquarters the entire time in order to focus on their studies.
While this certification does not increase the officers’ salaries, it opens them up to more overtime opportunities when their skills are needed.