The Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program is a national effort to deter impaired driving by increasing the likelihood that people who drive under the influence of drugs will be detected, caught, convicted and punished. The DEC Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and is administered and coordinated by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). The DEC Program focuses on a 12 step examination which makes up the DRE drug influence examination. The training consists of three phases: a two day Pre-School, a seven day DRE School and Certification Training which consists of 6 field evaluations and witnessing 6 other field evaluations. Upon completion of all three phases certification is achieved.
An evaluation consists of 12 steps. The initial is the breath test completed by the arresting officer. If the Blood Alcohol Concentration reading is less than 0.08% and the officer believes the subject appears more impaired than what the reading suggests a DRE is requested. The responding DRE performs more in depth testing of the subject to determine if the subject is under the influence of one or more of seven drug categories.
The Department currently has two Drug Recognition Experts: Patrolman David Hagan, Corporal Leonard Larkin and Patrolman Brian Murphy. During 2015 these officers performed 14 evaluations (7 for this Department, 7 for other jurisdictions).
In 2011, the Department joined a grant with Atlantic County. The grant reimburses the Department $220.00 each time a DRE is called in to complete an Evaluation when the officer is off duty ($110.00 if the officer is on duty at the time he or she is needed). The grant will also reimburse the Department an additional $220.00 or if an officer has to appear in court for up to 2 court dates. During 2016, $1980.00 was reimbursed back to the Department through this grant.