Fullerton Police Department recently became one of only three different California law enforcement agencies to be trained in offering a drug recognition program. The California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles Police Department are the only only two police forces that received this training aside from them.The funding for this highly specialized training was made possible with the help of California's Office of Traffic Safety.
Unique to this Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) program is its 12-step process which is used to help distinguish whether an individual is impaired by alcohol or drugs. Ultimately, by the time the 12-steps have been gone through, officers are able to pinpoint which one among seven different drugs an individual might have consumed prior to getting behind the wheel to drive.
The need for such specially trained officers is clear. Officers with the Fullerton Police Department report that the number of individuals being arrested in the city for driving under the influence of drugs has just surpassed the number of those driving while intoxicated by alcohol.
This trend is not just happening in Fullerton, but statewide. According to the Governors' Association for Highway Safety, of all fatal crashes last year, 43 percent involved drivers being under the influence of illicit drugs while 37 percent could be blamed on alcohol intoxication.
During one recent sweep, conducted by Fullerton's DRE trainees, one motorist stopped for a traffic violation was found to have been under the influence of drugs. In another instance, another stop resulted in officers finding a significant supply of methamphetamine in the car.
With officers having undergone this specialized training, the expectation is that arrests for DUI or drug-related charges will increase throughout the state. If you've been charged with one or both of these crimes, then an Orange County criminal defense attorney may be able to provide you with guidance in your legal case.
Source: ABC 7, "Fullerton police undergo specialized training to spot drug-impaired drivers," Greg Lee, May 29, 2017