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DRE stands for a “drug recognition evaluator.” DRE’s are frequently called upon to differentiate between drug influence and medical and/or mental disorders. The certified DRE is an tool for combating the adverse impact of drug and alcohol-impaired driving. Although DRE school used to be more demanding, the requirements have been watered down over the years so that more officer qualify.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) is the regulating and certifying organization for the DRE program. DRE certification is valid for two years. In order to maintain certification, DRE’s must conduct a minimum of four evaluations within the two years, submit a rolling log and current curriculum vitae, and attend eight hours of recertification training.

Two Phases of Training to Become a DRE

According to the application for the FLORIDA DRUG RECOGNITION EXPERT SCHOOL, to receive certification as a DRE, two phases of training must be completed:

    • The academic training phase is typically conducted over nine days (for a total of 72 hours of training).
    • The training includes covering topics in physiology, vital signs, standardized field sobriety testing (SFST), as well covering material on each of the seven categories of the drugs of abuse.
    • The training includes two written examinations, an SFST proficiency examination and five written quizzes.
    • Students must achieve a minimum of 80% on the two examinations (Pre-School Post Test & DRE School Post Test) and must demonstrate proficiency in administering SFST’s in order to progress to the next stage of training.
    • Students who cannot successfully pass this testing cannot continue in the program.
    • After successfully completing the academic portion, the students must complete the certification phase.
    • The student is responsible for completing the certification requirements within three months following the DRE school.
    • These requirements include conducting a minimum of 12 drug influence evaluations while under the supervision of a DRE instructor, identifying subjects under the influence of three of the seven drug categories, and attaining a 75% toxicological confirmation rate.
    • In addition, the student must maintain a progress log, rolling log and submit a curriculum vitae.
    • Finally, the student must pass a comprehensive final knowledge examination, and obtain the written endorsement of two certified DRE instructors.

Requirements for DRE Training in Florida

To be considered for DRE training, the applicant must meet the following required criteria:

  • Must have a minimum of three years of service (excluding reserve time;
  • Must be off probation with your agency Must be working in patrol with your agency;
  • Must be SFST trained and proficient;
  • Must have a reasonable background and experience level of making DUI arrests;
  • Must have a written endorsement/recommendation from your local prosecutor;
  • Must submit a minimum of two actual DUI arrest reports for review;
  • Must be willing and able to appear before an oral interview board who will assess your background and qualifications; and
  • Must have attended Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (A.R.I.D.E.).

This article was last updated on Friday, October 12, 2018.