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Drug Recognition Expert Program

Iowa Drug Evaluation and Classification Program


In 1991, Iowa was the 24th state to implement the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DECP). Iowa has 135 active Drug Recognition Evaluation officers (DREs), including 16 instructors, working in 50 counties. As a certified DRE, an 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 of DECP is to reduce drug impaired driving crashes.

DRE Training Schools


Annual Conference

DRE Awards

The DECP is administered by the Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau, with training funding 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 DECP with over 8,000 DREs and instructors nationwide.

Watch KCRG-TV's Report on the Iowa DRE Program

Agency Responsibilities

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 20 days

Participating agencies are requested to demonstrate their commitment to the DECP 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 2 day ARIDE training available to other peace officers.

DRE Candidates

DRE candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Certified peace officer with extensive OWI and traffic enforcement background to include courtroom testimony
  • 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 enter them into the national DRE database.

Counties with 1 or more DRE 2018
DRE map

Police Departments 49
Sheriffs' Offices 35
Iowa State Patrol 28
Universities 4
Dept. of Natural Resources 1

For additional information contact:

Todd Olmstead
DRE Program Manager
Phone (515) 725-6122
Cell (515) 393-8659
Office (515) 725-6122

Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau
Department of Public Safety
215 E 7th Street, Third Floor
Des Moines, IA 50319

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Created: 02-07-2006
Last Updated:
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