A drug recognition expert or drug recognition evaluator (DRE) is a police officer trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol.The Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program is managed and coordinated by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

In 1992, the IACP governing body approved the creation of the IACP Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Section. Drug recognition, a growing profession in law enforcement, has seen great promise as a means of identifying and prosecuting drug-impaired drivers. The drug recognition expert's main focus is the detection and recognition of drug-impaired drivers. But DREs have used, and continue to use, their specialized training and skills to assist in many other areas of public safety. Many DREs are considered the drug experts in their communities and their agencies.

The Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program has received national acclaim for its success in identifying the drug-impaired driver. Officers trained as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) are frequently called upon to differentiate between drug influence and medical and/or mental disorders and is an extremely valuable tool in combating the adverse impact of drug and alcohol impaired driving in our communities. To find a DRE near you:

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

This phase is typically conducted over nine days (72 class hours). It includes courses in physiology, vital signs, Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), and extensive information on each of the seven categories of the drugs of abuse. The training includes three written examinations, a SFST proficiency examination and five written quizzes. Students must achieve a minimum of 80% on the three examinations, and must demonstrate proficiency in administering SFST's in order to progress to the certification phase.

Snapshots from the 2011 DRE School - Class 9:


Snapshots from the 2013 DRE School - Class 10:

After successfully completing the academic portion, the students must complete the certification phase. 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 12 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, a rolling log, and submit a curriculum vitae. Finally, the student must pass a comprehensive final knowledge examination and obtain the written endorsement of two certified DRE instructors.

DRE certification is valid for two years. In order to maintain certification, DRE's must conduct a minimum of four evaluations every two years, submit an updated rolling log, an updated curriculum vitae, and attend 8-hours of approved re-certification training.

To be considered for DRE training, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Must have a minimum of two years of law enforcement service.
  • Must be off probation with your agency.
  • Must be working in patrol with your agency.
  • Must be SFST trained and proficient in their use.
  • Must have completed ARIDE. The online ARIDE program is not accepted in Tennessee as a prerequisite for DRE, it must be taken in Tennessee in a live classroom.  No exception.
  • Must have a reasonable background and experience level of making DWI arrests.
  • Must have an endorsement/recommendation from your local prosecutor.
  • Must have an endorsement/recommendation from two DRE's.
  • Must submit a minimum of two actual DWI arrest reports for review.

Applications for DRE School are now open

*The current class in Pigeon Forge is full.  There will be another class opening in August and applications submitted will be considered for that class. 


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