Legal pot is coming, and suburban police want more drug recognition experts

  • Lake in the Hills police Sgt. Adam Carson is a senior instructor for the drug recognition expert program. "There is a need for a lot more training of officers," he said. "But the DRE program is a very intense program and not everyone is going to want to do what we do."

    Lake in the Hills police Sgt. Adam Carson is a senior instructor for the drug recognition expert program. "There is a need for a lot more training of officers," he said. "But the DRE program is a very intense program and not everyone is going to want to do what we do." Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • The drug recognition experts assess three things: whether the person is impaired; whether the impairment is due to drugs, injury or a medical condition; and if it's drugs, which of seven different drug categories, Lake in the Hills police Sgt. Adam Carson said.

    The drug recognition experts assess three things: whether the person is impaired; whether the impairment is due to drugs, injury or a medical condition; and if it's drugs, which of seven different drug categories, Lake in the Hills police Sgt. Adam Carson said. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Drug recognition experts do a 12-step evaluation including examining coordination, speech and eye movement; doing balance tests; estimating pupil size under three types of lighting; examining muscle tone; and taking blood pressure, temperature and pulse.

    Drug recognition experts do a 12-step evaluation including examining coordination, speech and eye movement; doing balance tests; estimating pupil size under three types of lighting; examining muscle tone; and taking blood pressure, temperature and pulse. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Drug recognition experts stay up-to-date with modern drugs, including strains of marijuana that are much more potent than in the 1960s and 1970s, and that have particularly increased in the last 10 years, Lake in the Hills police Sgt. Adam Carson said.

    Drug recognition experts stay up-to-date with modern drugs, including strains of marijuana that are much more potent than in the 1960s and 1970s, and that have particularly increased in the last 10 years, Lake in the Hills police Sgt. Adam Carson said. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/7/2019 4:13 PM

Illinois has 159 drug recognition experts out of 40,000 or so law enforcement officers. With the upcoming legalization of recreational cannabis starting Jan. 1, law enforcement officials say they want more experts who are trained to determine when drivers have a drug-related impairment and keep them off the road.

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