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Riverside police officer takes steps to become expert in recognizing impaired drivers

Published: Friday, June 21, 2013 5:49 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, June 21, 2013 6:08 p.m. CDT
(Photo provided)
Riverside police officer Brian Greenenwald completed a two-week training course to recognize impaired drivers. The class was sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

RIVERSIDE – Brian Greenenwald, a five-year veteran of the Riverside Police Department, has completed a two-week training course sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation to recognize drug impaired drivers.

The training was part of a grant sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is the first step toward becoming a drug recognition expert who can provide expert testimony in court related to the effects of any of the seven impairing drug categories. There are fewer than 35 drug recognition experts in the state.

“The drug recognition expert program is fairly new in Illinois, but is widely used across the United States and in a variety of other countries," Greenenwald said. "We were fortunate to have instructors from seven different states to share their experience and expertise in recognizing drug impaired drivers. I have no doubt that becoming a DRE will be a benefit to the community by ensuring that persons who drive while under the influence of prescription or illicit drugs are able to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Greenenwald will now be required to complete 12 drug evaluations in the presence of a DRE instructor as well as complete a four-hour-long final knowledge exam prior to being certified by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“With medical marijuana on the verge of becoming law in Illinois, I wanted an officer on staff who would have the expertise to detect impaired drivers who may be under the influence of illicit drugs or prescription drugs," said Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel, who opposes the medical marijuana bill awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn's signature.

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