FAQs

Before you use our e-mail to ask us a question, look through this page at some of the frequently asked questions, and their answers. If your questions aren't resolved, or if you just want to drop us a line, leave us a note in our e-mail.

Is there a difference between the DEC Program and the DRE Program?
What does it take to become a certified DRE?
Who do I contact, if I want to go to DRE School?
My DRE certification has expired. How can I get reinstated as a DRE?
Does IACP certify me as a DRE?
I am from a non-DEC State. Who do I contact regarding my re-certification?
I am from a non-DEC State and would like to attend DRE training. Who should I contact to attend a DRE School?
What does the DRE Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) do?
Can a non-law enforcement officer become a DRE?

Is there a difference between the DEC Program and the DRE Program?

NO. The Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DECP) is the official name for the program, but it is now frequently referred to as the Drug Recognition Expert Program.

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What does it take to become a certified DRE?

The Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program has received international acclaim for its success in identifying the drug-impaired individual. Although the focus of the DRE curricula is on the identification of the drug-impaired driver, DRE skills are applied to many different law enforcement activities. These activities include Health and Safety Code enforcement, particularly 11550 H&S violations (under the influence of a specific controlled substance). In addition, DREs are frequently called upon to differentiate between drug influence and medical and/or mental disorders. The certified DRE is an extremely valuable tool for combating the adverse impact of drugs on the communities we serve.

DRE school is extremely demanding. To receive certification as a DRE, three phases of training must be completed. The following summarizes each phase:

ACADEMIC TRAINING:

This phase is typically conducted over two weeks (80 hours). It includes courses in physiology, vital signs, standardized field sobriety testing (SFST), as well as extensive material on each of the seven categories of the drugs of abuse. The training includes three written examinations, an SFST proficiency examination and five written quizzes. Students must achieve a minimum of 80% on the three examinations, and must demonstrate proficiency in administering the SFST in order to progress to the certification phase. The academic training is conducted utilizing creative, participant-centered teaching techniques.

CERTIFICATION PHASE:

After successfully completing the academic portion, the students return to their division of assignment. It is the student's responsibility to complete the certification requirements within six months following the DRE school. These requirements include: conducting a minimum of 15 drug influence evaluations while under the supervision of a DRE instructor; identifying subjects under the influence of four of the seven drug categories; and attaining a 75% toxicological confirmation rate. In addition, the student must maintain a progress log, rolling log and submit a quality resume. Finally, the student must pass a comprehensive final knowledge examination, and obtain the written endorsement of two certified DRE instructors.

FINAL KNOWLEDGE EXAM PHASE

This phase consists of an extensive examination, testing the students knowledge of all facets of the DEC Program. Students must answer multiple choice/fill-in-the-blank questions, must complete several exemplars, correctlty classifying the drug category(s). The student must also know the poly-drug effects, and give specific examples. Then, the student must complete several essay questions, regaridng polydrug use; what an individual most likely would exhibit when under the combined influence of diffeetn drug combinations. Some past students have said that this exam has taken them 4-5 hours to complete.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) is the regulating organization for the DRE program. DRE certification is valid for two years. In order to maintain certification, DRE's must conduct a minimum of four evaluations within the two years, submit a rolling log and current resume, and attend eight hours of recertification training.

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Who do I contact, if I want to go to DRE School?

You should contact the DRE State Coordinator in your state. There is a list of state coordinators in this website. Prior to contacting the state coordinator, you should ensure that your agency will support your training and the DRE program. Look up your state coordinator and contact him/her for more information.

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My DRE certification has expired. How can I get reinstated as a DRE?

Under the IACP Drug Evaluation and Classification Program International Standards, Section 5.1, an individual can be reinstated as a DRE when the following conditions are met:

  1. The applicant must pass the 100-item exam witnessed by a certified DRE instructor, with a score of at least 80%.
  2. The applicant must complete four hands-on drug evaluations under the supervision of a DRE instructor.
  3. The applicant’s eligibility and reinstatement as a DRE is reviewed and approved by the DRE’s agency, state, and TAP Regional Program Coordinators, where applicable.

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Does IACP certify me as a DRE?

No. IACP is the "credentialing" body and does not certify DREs. The "certification" is done by the respective State Coordinator who signs off on the DRE candidate. The candidate’s paperwork is forwarded to IACP who assigns the DRE a number, enters the DRE into the IACP database and issues the DRE a certification card.

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I am from a non-DEC State. Who do I contact regarding my re-certification?

If you do not have a DRE State Coordinator because you are from a non-DEC State, you must contact your DRE Regional Coordinator. Each state, whether a DEC State or not, is assigned to one of four IACP DRE regions. The list of Regions and Regional Coordinators can be accessed by clicking on the "Regional Coordinator" link in this website.

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I am from a non-DEC State and would like to attend DRE training. Who should I contact to attend a DRE School?

The IACP requests that any officer from a non-DEC State interested in attending DRE training contact the Regional DEC Coordinator from their respective region. (Refer to the "Regional Coordinator" link in this website).

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What does the DRE Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) do?

This group was formed to assist the Highway Safety Committee of the IACP on specific matters relating to the Drug Evaluation and Classification program. These matters include the revision of the approved training curriculum, review and approval of proposed alternative training programs, and other matters relating to the technical aspects of the DEC program, which include Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Drugs that Impair Driving, Drug Impairment Training for Education Professionals (DITEP) and the Drug Evaluation and Classification program.

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Can a non-law enforcement officer become a DRE?

Under the IACP International Standards, Section 1.1 in order for certification as a DRE, a person shall be in the employ and under the direct control of a public criminal justice agency or institution involved in providing training services to officers of law enforcement agencies. The student should also have support and endorsement from their parent agency.