Cops giving kids drugs not the worst part of DRE Program

The state DRE or Drug Recognition Evaluation Program that has been suspended since it was revealed that cops had been giving young adults drugs so they can be evaluated in order to become a DRE certified officer.  Most of the officers involved have denied these accusations.  Even if you set aside giving kids drugs, the DRE program is a disaster.

In the police’s own investigation officers told how they picked up youths who they suspected were on drugs; Threatened them with arrest if they did not volunteer; Took them to a warehouse with no medical personnel; Did not test them to see if they actually had taken drugs; Had them sign release forms under fake names or not sign them at all; evaluate them to see if they were on drugs; And drop them off with some fast food back on the street.  The only thing officers deny is the actual giving of drugs to the youths.

What if something goes wrong?  What if someone overdoses?  No medical personnel present means they would have to run the kid to the hospital.  They have no contact information, no medical history, no idea what the kid has actually taken, they have not even checked to see if she is a minor or not.  All they have is a fake name and a street corner they picked her up on.  Explain that to a parent whose daughter is in a coma or worse. scientific evaluation of someone?s state of intoxication needs to start with proving if someone is intoxicated.  You can run training for alcohol with a breathalyzer. You have volunteers drink, test their blood alcohol level then give officers and opportunity to see if they can determine if they are drunk or not with a sobriety test.  There is none of this rigor in the DRE Program.  Cops have no way of verifying if they were right in their evaluation of the volunteers. (Unless they gave them the drugs themselves.)

Once an officer has been through this program they are considered experts.  Their word means probable cause for searching persons and property.  They are used as experts in court cases.  The DRE course even has a section on case preparation and testimony.  Not once is an officer given a subject to test that can be evaluated and another person can say they were right or wrong.  Yet that very same officer can now get someone convicted by his testimony.

The DRE program as it is run is a failure in all respects.  The State Patrol can team up with the U of M and do it scientifically.  But there are people in jail right now because of the ?training? these peace officers received.  The DRE program is in 47 states and other countries around the world.  I only hope that the whole system is not run the same way.


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