WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – A pair of Wheeling Police officers have been officially certified as Drug Recognition Experts.
Officers Ryan Moore and Gage Parker took part in a rigorous curriculum this summer, which included 120 hours of DRE school and an additional 40 hours of education for certification. Less than 10 people are accepted to participate in this annual course that takes place in Huntington, W.Va. and Phoenix, Ariz.
“We learned what different drugs do to the body, how they affect the body and the seven different categories of drugs and how each category has slightly different things we look for,” said Officer Moore.
Right now, there are less than 50 DRE’s in the Mountain State. They are essential in investigating vehicle crashes and DUI’s.
“Even when not doing an evaluation, just when I perform a regular DUI, the skills that they’ve taught me and what to look for still helps make a difference for me,” said Officer Parker. “Even if I’m not getting to do an actual DRE investigation, it’s still improved me as an officer.”
With their unique certification, Officers Moore and Parker can be qualified as experts in court and give their opinions on what drug category a person has taken, based on the evaluation that they are certified to administer.
In addition to their patrol duties, both officers are part of the department’s SWAT team.