Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Albany Citizens Police Academy - Week 7 - DUII & DRE

Community Education Specialist Carmen Westfall passed out our Albany Citizens Police Academy t-shirts as we arrived! She gave us a quick update about to expect in the next few classes.
Next OfficerRobert Hayes took over to talk about Driving Under the Influence and being a Drug Recognition Expert.

Officer Hayes began by clarifying the answer to a question from when he taught the traffic class two weeks earlier. Apparently when any part of a person or any extension of a person (i.e. a walker, dog, weekchair) steps from curb to crosswalk with intent to move forward that person is considered crossing the street and people in a vehicle must wait for them to cross. As someone pointed out, intent can still be subjective.

Moving on to discuss DUII, Officer Hayes discussed statistics, penalties, and other reasons to demonstrate the dangers of drinking and driving. Officers work to keep drunk drivers off the streets for safety.

Officer Hayes demonstrated the "walk and turn" test and the "standing on one leg" test for the class as well as explaining that the reason officers ask multiple questions when pulling over a suspected drunk driver is that the driver's ability to multi-task and converse can be affected by alcohol. The eyes of people who have overconsumed alcohol or used drugs show a distinctive involuntary jerking motion called nystagmus that can't be concealed.

He then chose a class member to put on the Fatal Vision goggles and attempt the walk and turn test to demonstrate how alcohol affects one's ability to take the test. Anoher class member put on the goggles and demonstrated standing on one leg test.

During the break, he put the goggles in the back of the room, so the class could try them on and see how alcohol effects the body. I tried them on and tried both tests. The .06 BAC goggles I could still do both tests. The .08 BAC goggles not even close. They even made me feel a little nauseated. Some people had a really strong effect to putting them on and described seeing their legs to the side of them. I didn't have that sensation exactly, but I did recognize the off-balance feeling from the times I've over-imbibed. I found it strange to things through drunk eyes while sober.

Officer Hayes discussed the training for Drug Recognition Experts and the importance they serve. Drug Recognition Experts are trained to see and understand the effects of myriad drugs on the body. The body has a homeostatis line that it strives to maintain. As the body adjusts to the effects drugs inflict on the body to find its homeostasis line, physical and behavioral changes take place providing both the euphoria people seek and the clues to the drug that was used. Over time the body adjusts the homeostatis line meaning that it requires more of the drug to get the same effect but the blood saturation amount stays the same.

The Drug Recognition Expert uses 12 components to determine if someone is under the influence and what they are under the influence of.

They are:
1)  Blood Alcohol Content Test
2)  Interview the Arresting Officer
3)  Preliminary Exam
4)  Eye Exam
5)  Divided Attention Psyhcophysical Test
6)  Vital Signs
7)  Dark Room Examinations
8)  Muscle Tone
9)  Injection Sites
10) Suspect Statements and Other Observations
11) Opinions of the Evaluator
12) Toxicology

All twelve steps only take about 45 minutes to the Drug Recognition Expert to complete.

Officer Hayes presentation kept the class engaged and interested. He answered questions, told stories to illustrate his point, and conversed with class easily.

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