A drug recognition expert or drug recognition evaluator (DRE) is a police officer trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol. A DRE conducts a detailed, diagnostic examination of persons arrested or suspected of drug-impaired driving or similar offenses.

Based on the results of the drug evaluation, the DRE forms an expert opinion on the following:

Is the person impaired?

If so, is the person able to operate a vehicle safely?

If the DRE concludes that the person is impaired…

Is the impairment due to an injury, illness or other medical complication, or is it drug-related? If the impairment is due to drugs…

Which category or combination of categories of drugs is the most likely source of the impairment?

DREs conduct their evaluations in a controlled environment, typically at police precincts, intake centers, troop headquarters or other locations where impaired drivers are transported after arrest. The drug evaluation is not normally done at roadside and is typically a post-arrest procedure.

In some cases, the person evaluated will be a driver the DRE personally arrested. In many cases, however, the DRE will be called upon to conduct the evaluation after the driver was arrested by another officer. The DRE is requested to assist in the investigation because of his or her special expertise and skills in identifying drug impairment.

The DRE drug evaluation takes approximately one hour to complete. The DRE evaluates and assesses the person’s appearance and behavior. The DRE also carefully measures and records vital signs and makes precise observations of the person’s automatic responses and reactions. The DRE also administers carefully designed psychophysical tests to evaluate the person’s judgment, information processing ability, coordination and various other characteristics. The DRE will systematically consider everything about the person that could indicate the influence of drugs.

The Hazlet Township Police Department has two Drug Recognition Expert DRE officers.

Sgt. William Marvel

Ptl. Patrick Wood