Brooklyn Park Police Increase Drug Training to Spot High Drivers
Legalized recreational marijuana could lead to an increase in impaired driving arrests. For police officers, those impairments are not as easy to spot.
Some Brooklyn Park police officers are undergoing special training to keep more people safe on the roads.
Since the legalization of recreational cannabis in Minnesota, the things police look for have changed.
“We knew that there were going to be steps taken to make sure our department was more prepared to deal with DWI drivers,” said Elliot Faust, inspector with the Brooklyn Park Police Department.
Driving under the influence of any substance is illegal. All officers have standard sobriety testing training.
Still, Faust said marijuana influence can be tougher to detect.
“Ultimately, what officers have to do is prove is that a driver is impaired,” Faust said.
In some cases, impairment is easy to prove. Any show of marijuana use inside a vehicle is illegal.
Other cases are not as simple.
Training To Spot Impaired Driving
Right now, four Brooklyn Park officers are trained as drug recognition experts. Soon, two more officers within the department will strengthen those efforts.
“They are experts on the effects drugs have on the human body,” Faust said. “These little nuanced and subtle things they might be able to pick up that are known to be indicators of drug impairment.”
Drug recognition expert testing is not as quick as a breathalyzer test. In some cases, evaluations happen at another site.
For officers, drug recognition expert training takes time.
“There is a two-week long training they have to go through,” Faust said. “The officers have to go out of state.”
Faust said the department expects to have the two additional drug recognition experts trained by October. He said having drug recognition experts in every department benefits neighboring communities as well.
“Part of that position is that we are agreeing to help our neighbors,” Faust said.