DRE Conference Draws Record-breaking Attendance in Phoenix

general session2The IACP Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Section’s Annual Training Conference on Drugs, Alcohol and Impaired Driving convened July 28-30 and drew more than 870 representatives from law enforcement, toxicology, prosecution, health professionals and other stakeholders in impaired driving enforcement initiatives. Co-hosted by the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, the conference attendance was the largest ever in the 20-year history of the DRE Conference.

Sergeant Mike Iwai, Oregon State Police and chair of the DRE Section presided over the three days. IACP President Yost Zakhary was among the welcoming speakers during the opening ceremony as well as Arizona Governor Janice Brewer, Director Alberto Gutier of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and Director Robert Halliday of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

“The Evolution of Drug Recognition:  A Trip Back to the Basics” was this year’s theme, appropriately named because the first DRE Section conference was held in Phoenix 20 years ago. The first general session, entitled “DRE through the Ages,” featured some of the people who played critical roles in the development of the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program during the 1970s and ‘80s: Dick Studdard, retired Los Angeles Police Department; Jack Oates, retired from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); and Chuck Peltier, of NHTSA and former IACP staff member.

Among the 15 workshops and five general sessions presented, the topics included signs of impairment, principles of pharmacology and drug effects (specifically, cannabinoids, hallucinogens, dissociative anesthetics, CNS depressants, and synthetic drugs); improving teaching techniques, technology in the courtroom; using DREs in vehicular crimes investigations; using oral fluids in DUID enforcement cases; and the use of UV light in evaluations. The final general session by Gordon Graham, former DRE of the California Highway Patrol, also examined the issue of safety for the law enforcement officer, specifically the principles of risk management.

The IACP DRE Section wishes to extend its appreciation to our Arizona colleagues, particularly to Alberto Gutier and the conference committee for their successful planning efforts and to the Phoenix Police Department, who provided transportation throughout the event. The section also acknowledges the continued support of NHTSA, U.S. Department of Transportation.

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