Press Release - 03-22-2018

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 22, 2018

Contact: 
Tiffany Portzer
tiffany.portzer@dmv.ny.gov

 

GTSC, DMV and STATEWIDE LAW ENFORCEMENT ANNOUNCE LATEST CLASS OF DRUG RECOGNITION EXPERTS 
Statewide Program Continues Initiative to Prevent Drugged Driving on New York’s Roadways

 

The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today announced the addition of 16 law enforcement officers from across New York State who recently completed extensive training and are now nationally certified as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs). With these recent additions, New York now has 255 certified DREs across the state.

 

“In New York, drugged driving continues to be a critical issue facing our communities,” said Acting GTSC Chair and DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan. "By working with statewide law enforcement, we can detect and eliminate drugged driving behaviors from our roadways and keep New Yorkers safe.”

 

DREs are utilized by law enforcement officials when a driver appears to be impaired, but police have ruled out alcohol as the cause of impairment. DREs receive extensive training, sponsored by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, which allows them to observe and document indicators of impairment within different drug categories including illicit and prescription drugs. This training allows DREs to remove impaired drivers from New York State roadways regardless of the drug or drug combinations that are causing impairment. 

 

According to data compiled by the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR), the number of fatal crashes involving a drug-impaired driver increased by 31 percent between 2013 and 2016. The number of personal injury crashes involving a drug-impaired driver also rose, increasing by 31 percent between 2013 and 2016. These increases highlight the need to have police officers certified as DREs to better detect, identify, and remove drug-impaired drivers from New York State roadways. 

 

New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “The Drug Recognition Expert program is an important part of law enforcement’s continuing effort to keep impaired drivers off our roads. Congratulations to the graduates for expanding their skills and training, and thank you to our partners at the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and the Department of Motor Vehicles for sharing in our commitment to keep New York’s highways among the safest in the nation.”

 

As part of their intensive training, DRE graduates must successfully complete a three-phase program prior to being certified. The first phase consists of a two-day curriculum followed by a certification test to advance to the next phase of the program. The second phase, which encompasses 72 classroom hours, results in a final knowledge exam. The third phase, a comprehensive certification training program, requires participants to observe and identify three out of the seven drug categories and take a four- to five-hour final knowledge exam to successfully comply with DRE regulations.

 

Below is a list of graduates and their affiliation:

 

Jonathan Abrams, Suffolk County Police Department
Richard Park, Suffolk County Police Department
Warren Agostinoni, New York State Police
Chad Albanesi, New York State Police
Brian Christen, New York City Police Department
Jason Stahl, New York City Police Department
Kyle Kowalowski, New York State Police
Jordon Darrah, New York State Police
Jason Washo, Onondaga County Sheriff's Office
Lansing Hinrichs, City of Rye Police Department
Joseph Penniman, New York State Police
Brian Russell, New York State Police
Andrew Spina, Suffolk County Police Department
Holli Schoonmaker, New York State Police
Jordan Bistany, New York City Police Department
Robert Blinn, New York City Police Department

 

Officers selected to attend the DRE program must have a history of being proactive within their community and be well-versed in DWI detection. Only a handful of the large number of DRE applicants are selected to attend the extensive training which is paid for by the GTSC.

 

In 2016, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a public service campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of drugged driving in New York State. The public service announcement, titled “Drugged Driving is Impaired Driving,” was developed by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.

 

View GTSC’s website to access additional information on the DRE program. In addition, you can learn about the different charges an impaired driver can face and the possible penalties on DMV’s website.

 

To learn more about the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC), visit their website at http://safeny.ny.gov/.

 

For more information about DMV, visit dmv.ny.gov, or follow the DMV conversation online on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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