A Patrol Officer's Guide to Recognizing Signs and Symptoms of Drug Impairment
Sgt. Corey MacDonald, Esq. is a board certified drug recognition instructor and he sets forth the symptoms and recognition tips for the various drugs a officer will encounter. He also discusses the various test available and their effectiveness.
Table of Contents
- The Importance of Recognizing Impairment
- Driving offenses
- Interviews of victims and witnesses
- Interrogations of suspects
- Mens rea – criminal intent
- School safety
- Evaluation Considerations
- Officer Safety!!!
- Who will your audience be later?
- Is this going to court, or to an administrative hearing?
- Duty to act?
- Informal observations
- Slurred speech and/or mouth agape
- Can't keep train of thought
- Hunched forward
- Eyes (stare, bloodshot, glassy, pupil siz
- Grinding teeth
- Poor fine motor skills
- Divided Attention Tests
- Ask for two things at the same time.
- Interrupt the driver and ask a distracting question.
- Be aware of attempts to avoid your questions.
- Ask "How much have you drank?" v. "Have you been drinking?"
- Field Sobriety Tests (FST)
- Standardization of Field Sobriety Tests – objective tests
- Presenting a "United Front" to the court
- Reduce liability - "We treat everyone the same."
- KISS rule
- Supervisors can better evaluate weak points in cases, or training needs.
- FSTs are divided attention tests.
- The Four Recommended Field Sobriety Tests (FST)
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
- 9 Step Walk & TurnTest: 8 Clues
- One Leg Stand Test: 4 Clues
- Rhomberg Balance Test: Clues
- Seven Major Drug Categories & Symptoms of Use
- CNS Depressants (alcohol, barbiturates, anti-depressants., anti-psychotics, tranquilizers)
- CNS Stimulants (cocaine, amphetamines)
- Hallucinogens (LSD, ecstasy)
- Disassociative Anesthetics (PCP, Ketamin
- Narcotic Analgesics (heroin, opiates, pain killers)
- Inhalents (acetone, toluene, nitrous)
- Cannabis (marijuana, hashish, hash oil)
- Alternative Tests
- Finger to nose
- Alphabet (A-Z, not sun
- What is the cause?
- Look for physical symptoms
- Look for behavioral symptoms
- When to call a DRE
- Arrest based on probable cause of drug or alcohol impairment
- Breathalyzer or PBT test less than 0.09 and impairment does not match BRAC
- 0.09 or more
- The Totality of the Circumstances
- SFST's and our observations are not an exact science, they are based strongly in common sense.
- Training and experience
- The "reasonable man" standard, the yard stick of the law.
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