The drug evaluation and classification (DEC) program trains Minnesota law enforcement officers how to detect specific drug impairment. The comprehensive training prepares officers to detect and remove drug impaired drivers from the road.
A properly trained drug recognition evaluator (DRE) can successfully identify drug impairment and accurately determine the category of drugs causing such impairment.
The State Patrol DEC School was implemented in 1991. There are 197 DRE officers in Minnesota representing 92 agencies. Currently 47 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada participate in the DEC program.
The DEC program was developed in Los Angeles in the 1970s as a result of LAPD officers noticing many individuals arrested for DWI with very low (or no) alcohol concentrations. The officers suspected that the arrestees were under the influence of drugs, but lacked the knowledge and skills to support their suspicions.
In response, two LAPD sergeants collaborated with various medical doctors, research psychologists and other medical professionals to develop a simple, standardized procedure for recognizing drug influence and impairment. Their efforts culminated in the development of a multi-step protocol and the first DRE program. The LAPD formally recognized the program in 1979.
DEC school is often considered one of the most involved training curriculums for officers. DRE training consists of nine days of classroom work, where officers learn about specific drug categories, physiology, and enhance their SFST skills. Following the classroom training, DRE candidates must complete certification training, where they perform 12 evaluations on drug-impaired subjects. These evaluations will be monitored and verified by DRE instructors and the BCA Lab. Certification training generally takes 2–3 weeks.