PennDOT, PA DUI Association honors new drug recognition experts
DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa.– The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), and the PA DUI association today announced that five state troopers and six municipal police officers have completed Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) training, and expect to be certified by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
“The Drug Evaluation and Classification Program is a national effort to train police officers to determine when an individual has been driving under the influence of drugs and to identify the type of drug causing the impairment,” said David Andrascik, the DUI Association state program coordinator. The success of the program in Pennsylvania is a result of the strong partnerships with all agencies involved.
Drivers are reminded that operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and prescribed or over the counter substances may include side effects that will affect reaction time, cognition and overall concentration. Certified officers are also qualified to recognize whether an individual is suffering from a medical condition rather than drug impairment, and will make arrests accordingly.
Since Pennsylvania adopted the program in 2004, 97 troopers and 83 municipal police officers have become certified as DRE’s, and more than 16,000 evaluations have been conducted. In 2017 alone, more than 1,600 people suspected of being impaired by substances other than alcohol were investigated.
In about 40 percent of the cases motorists were under the influence of a narcotic analgesic drug which includes opiates. In 38 percent of the cases, cannabinoids such as marijuana were a factor. Additional drugs DRE’s investigated include, central nervous system depressant or stimulant drugs, like cocaine or amphetamines.
Troopers who completed the training include:
Trooper Nicholas Borrelli, Troop K, Philadelphia;
Trooper Sean Christofferson, Troop D, Mercer;
Trooper Thomas Dubovi, Jr., Troop E, Meadville;
Trooper Dylan Gelvin, Troop G, McConnellsburg;
Trooper Anthony Jendrzejewski, Troop H, Chambersburg.
Municipal police officers who completed the program include:
Officer Justin Erickson, Hermitage Police Department, Mercer County;
Patrolman Daniel Foster, North Huntingdon Township Police Department, Westmoreland County;
Officer Jory Harlan, Upper Allen Township Police Department, Cumberland County;
Officer John Kiefer, Castle Shannon Police Department, Allegheny County;
Patrolman Derrick Tardive, Altoona City Police Department, Blair County;
Officer Margaret Vorum-Leonard, Waynesburg Police Department, Greene County.