x
Breaking News
More () »

DRE officers train to identify drugged driving

Alcohol is what people normally think of when they hear DUI. However, driving under the influence means more than that. Especially with the heroin epidemic sweeping Northwest Ohio, drugged driving, is becoming more and more common.

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Alcohol is what people normally think of when they hear DUI. However, driving under the influence means more than that.

Especially with the heroin epidemic sweeping Northwest Ohio, drugged driving, is becoming more and more common.

So far this year, one-third of DUIs can be attributed to drug use in Ohio, and Ohio State Highway Patrol leaders in Northwest Ohio are working to send more officers to Columbus to become a certified DRE, or drug recognition expert.

This way, these officers are able to identify when someone is on drugs when they're behind the wheel.

"The more officers we can get out there to make an impact with that and identify those drivers, the more impact we can make for the community," said Lt. Shaun Robinson of Ohio Highway Patrol.

In Northwest Ohio, there are six DRE officers currently with OSHP.

These officers are trained to look for signs of drug use, whether they're pulling someone over or after a crash.

"The heroin epidemic is huge right now obviously so, for that we are looking for constricted pupils, no reaction or a little reaction to light, so if I shine my flashlight in their eyes," said Joshua Bolduan, a trained OSHP DRE officer.

On Monday, the first round of regional training for DREs outside of Columbus happened near Cleveland.

Sgt. Joshua Bolduan made the trip to the state capital four years ago to be trained on recognizing this kind of impaired driving.

Now, he says if a driver is acting strange, and an officer isn't smelling booze, his phone rings.

"It's usually when an officer can tell somebody is impaired or something just isn't quite right, however they ruled out alcohol," says Bolduan.

When these DRE officers are working to figure out what type of drugs the drivers is on, they look at seven different categories.

These include different groups of drugs, such as narcotics.

"Each category produces different effects that we would see, but we do an extensive evaluation of people," Bolduan said.

This evaluation includes a handful of different tests, like normal drunk driving field tests, and others like checking someone's pulse and pupils.

The OSHP Toledo post is sending another one of their officers to Columbus for training in January.

Bolduan says they are also working on training other field officers to notice these types of behaviors.

Paid Advertisement