Racine Police Add on Skills to Combat Intoxicated drivers

drunkRACINE – Racine area officers patrolling the roads there are trained to see obvious signs when it comes to spotting drunk drivers. But what if the driver is inebriated on something else?

That’s not a problem, in 2013, Racine County deputies made nearly 800 OWI arrests — and the majority of those drivers were drinking. Most of them exhibited blood-shot eyes, slurred speech, alcohol on their breath — all obvious signs. But when it comes to marijuana or other opiates, those signs aren’t so obvious.

Soon, Racine officers for first time in the county, will use training they learned through an intensive four-week program to be certified “drug recognition experts”, to catch those drivers who weren’t drinking but using another substance that imparted their driving.

“Someone who is using heroin, marijuana, alcohol, these other types of drugs also exhibit different signs and symptoms that associate with being impaired,” said Racine County Sheriff Chris Schmaling.

The officers will use a more intensive field test to recognize the unique symptoms for a variety of illegal drugs — and be able to make an arrest, even if a driver passes a breathalyzer test.

The newly-trained officers are part of the Caledonia, Sturtevant and Mount Pleasant Police Departments. They will also follow through and testify in court as an expert witness.

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