Based on a program developed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, the Stillwater Police Department selected officers to become certified Drug Recognition Experts. These officers received extensive training in the effects of drugs and controlled substances on the human body. Unlike suspects who are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, it is a grueling task to determine if an individual is under the influence of drugs. Many officers who complete the DRE Certification Program describe the process as the most difficult training of their entire career.
Once certified, DRE Officers work in conjunction with other officers to build cases that involve drivers detained on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs. Although they are Stillwater Police Officers, their expertise and advanced training is often requested by surrounding law enforcement agencies including the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma State University Police, and the Payne County Sheriff’s Department. DRE Officers are also utilized to assist in building probable cause in cases of drug possession and for screening of jail prisoners suspected of drug intoxication upon their return from work release programs. In addition the DRE Officers have become a valuable resource to the Payne County Drug Court Program in detecting whether participants have violated rules or court mandates.