Press Release - 12-27-2022

Monday, December 27, 2022 




Latest Graduation Raises Number to 432 Drug Recognition Experts Now Certified Statewide

99 New Graduates in 2022

Program Strengthens State’s Efforts to Prevent Drugged Driving on New York Roadways

View B-roll and Soundbites of New York’s Drug Recognition Experts Training 

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) today recognized 20 law enforcement officers from across New York State who recently completed extensive training and are now nationally certified Drug Recognition Experts (DREs).

With this graduating class, New York now has a record number of 432 certified DREs across the state. This year, GTSC administered six DRE training programs with 99 graduates successfully completing the training.

“Congratulations to these hardworking officers on completing this exhaustive training that will help ensure safety on New York’s roads,” said GTSC Chair and DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “Drug Recognition Experts serve as a valuable tool in helping to get impaired drivers off our roads.”

Below is a list of graduates and their affiliations:

2022 DRE Graduates
Last NameFirst NameAgency
BuckleyMorganNew York State Police
BuczekStanleyPort Jervis Police Department
CardinaliMarkNew York State Police
CastellanoJosephNew York State Police
ClydeMatthewNew York State Police
CornineConnorNew York State Police
DavenportKarleyNew York State Police
DrobotGregoryTown of Poughkeepsie Police Department
FerrisKevinSaratoga County Sheriff’s Office
HarbourAnthonyWatervliet Police Department
HeggelkeTylerNew York State Police
HickeyConnorNew York State Police
IorioJosephTown of Clarkstown Police Department
MontiJasonTown of Newburgh Police Department
NigroNicoleGreenburgh Police Department
O'ConnellThomasTown of Newburgh Police Department
PortJosephNew York State Police
PrattThomasGlens Falls Police Department
RooneyJohnNew York State Police
SheppardScottDutchess County Sheriff's Office


In 2023, with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul, through enhanced funding from the New York State Office of Cannabis Management, GTSC will train law enforcement officers across the state with the goal of increasing the number of certified Drug Recognition Experts to 550 in New York State.

“We’ve made many changes in how New York approaches cannabis use with legalization for those 21 and over, but one thing that hasn’t changed are the risks to yourself and others if you drive high,” said Chris Alexander, Executive Director for the Office of Cannabis Management. “Ensuring law enforcement has the training to detect cannabis use in a driver is critical to keeping our roads safe and we’re proud to be supporting the expansion of this important program.”

DREs are utilized by law enforcement when a driver appears to be impaired and police have ruled out alcohol as the cause or sole cause of impairment. A DRE receives extensive training that has been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).

The training allows officers to observe and document signs and indicators of impairment within each of seven drug categories including illicit and prescription drugs. DREs can make arrests and remove impaired drivers from New York State roadways regardless of the drug or drug combinations that are causing impairment.    

As part of their training, DRE graduates must successfully complete a three-part program prior to being certified.  The first two phases include a two-day introductory course, followed by 56 hours of instruction and a final exam. In the third phase, participants are required to observe and identify drug categories and complete an additional final knowledge exam to successfully comply with national DRE standards. After successfully completing the training, all DRE officers are certified for two years and are expected to meet certain requirements to be considered for re-certification at the end of this period.    

Officers selected to participate in the DRE program must have a history of being proactive within their community and be well-trained in DWI detection. Only a handful of the large number of DRE applicants are selected to attend the training, which is sponsored by the GTSC, the New York State Office of Cannabis Management, and the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation.    

Learn more about the DRE program on the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee website.    

About GTSC

Combined with education and enforcement campaigns, GTSC coordinates various traffic safety activities throughout the year and supports ongoing initiatives to improve pedestrian, motorcycle, and bicycle safety. The GTSC also sponsors critical training for law enforcement, provides resources for teen drivers and their parents, and promotes seatbelt use statewide.    


For more information about GTSC, visit, or follow the GTSC conversation on Facebook and Twitter