Iowa became the 24th state to implement the Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program in 1991. Since then 125 active Drug Recognition Evaluation officers (DREs), including 14 instructors, have been trained and are working in 52 counties. As a DRE, the officer is able to determine if a subject is impaired and unable to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner. The DRE rules out medical reasons for impairment. Several cases have been documented where the DRE has saved the life of a subject by referring them to medical care. After the 12-step evaluation, the DRE determines which category of drugs is influencing the subject at the time of the evaluation. The goal is to reduce drug impaired driving crashes.
The DEC Program is administered by the Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau, with training funding provided by the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The International Association of Chief's of Police (IACP) and NHTSA developed the training curriculum for certification and re-certification of the officers as a DRE.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) laboratory conducts the toxicologic testing for the DRE Program. The successful prosecution of a DRE case is dependent upon the teamwork of the DRE, DCI Lab, the County Attorneys' Office and the Prosecuting Attorney's Training Council.
There are currently 45 states participating in the DEC program with over 8,000 DREs and instructors nationwide.
Agencies that wish to participate in the DRE Program should be aware of the following commitments and expectations:
- Strong agency support for traffic enforcement
- Ongoing OWI public information and education
- A training commitment of 19 days
Participating agencies are requested to demonstrate their commitment to the DEC Program in several ways:
- Encourage the DRE to aggressively seek opportunities to utilize their expertise
- Allow the DRE to respond to calls for DRE evaluations whenever possible
- Make the 8 hour "Drugs that Impair" workshop available to other peace officers
DRE candidates must meet the following criteria:
- Certified peace officer Certified in SFST Certified in OWI/traffic enforcement and prosecution
- Submit a letter and subsequent application for review
The DRE school consists of several phases:
- Pre-DRE School: 2 days
- DRE School: 8 days
- In-state Certification: 3 nights
- Out-of-state Certification: 7 nights
The DRE is required to maintain a log of evaluations and requests, and submit it quarterly to the state DEC Program Manager.
For additional information contact:
DRE Program Manager
Phone: (515) 725-6125
Fax: (515) 725-6133
Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau
Department of Public Safety
215 E 7th Street, Third Floor
Des Moines, IA 50319