The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 10, 2013

Law enforcement officials in town this week for drug training

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — More than a dozen area law enforcement officers are attending advance training in drug recognition this week at Enid Police Department.

Drug recognition expert instructors from Norman Police Department are holding the training for surrounding agencies that might not otherwise be able to participate.

NPD Lt. Gary Shelton and Lt. Chris Amason were instructing the 16 officers in the two-day course.

The course, Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement, will increase the officers’ ability to detect drivers who are under the influence of intoxicating substances  other than alcohol.

Shelton said Tuesday was spent going over standard field sobriety tests officers previously have learned, giving a refresher on the tests or updates, and also correcting any flaws in the officers’ techniques.

“The SFST are the building blocks of everything we do,” Shelton told the class. “They are the foundation of everything we do and we do them on the roadside.”

The course covers the effects on the human body the seven drug types have and the visible clues they trigger in an intoxicated person.

Shelton said the second day of the course would focus on the seven drug categories, the signs and symptomology of those drugs and their effects on driving.

“This is good information to take back to your agency,” Shelton said of the training.

He said this class will be taught across the state about 20 times a year.

Shelton said there always have been motorists driving under the influence of drugs, but officers haven’t always had the training to detect it.

“It’s always been around, but there was a lack of training on our part,” Shelton said. “We’re catching up.”

He said most Oklahoma law enforcement officers did not begin DRE training until the 1990s. Now the training is becoming more widespread.

Enid Police Department Lt. Gary Fuxa said the department hosted the class so nearby agencies could benefit from the training.