The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) first created the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) course in the early 1970s in response to an apparent increase in driving under the influence of drugs. LAPD later collaborated with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to construct a standardized curriculum for DRE training and, after multiple studies validated the effectiveness of the program at training DREs to accurately identify drug impaired drivers, the national Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DECP) was created by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) at the request of NHTSA.
In the early 1980s the California Highway Patrol (CHP) developed its own program that included both a classroom course and a field certification phase, and by the early 1990s the CHP was using the program that had been developed and endorsed by NHTSA and certified by IACP. The CHP was established by NHTSA and the California Office of Traffic Safety as the statewide coordinator for DRE training in 1991; and in 1997 the DRE and DRE Instructor programs were certified by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
The California DECP has expanded since then to include classes on subjects such as Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), and Drug Impairment Training for Educational Professionals (DITEP). As the California statewide coordinator, the CHP is responsible for the largest DRE training program in the country, coordinating hundreds of DECP classes each year.
The DRE course is the most in depth and advanced course in the SFST-ARIDE-DRE training series and, as such, involves a much larger time commitment. In addition to the initial 72-hour classroom course, candidates must successfully complete 32 hours of field training before the CHP can recommend them for certification by IACP. Once certified, a DRE must complete at least 8 hours of recertification classroom training and at least four evaluations every two years in order to maintain their DRE status.
This course is a 72 hour classroom course which includes instruction on:
It is required students pass with an 80% or better score on the final exam. Once the classroom course is finished, the students will be required to go to a 32 hour field certification course. This course shall be completed within 90 days of the completion of the classroom course.
In order to qualify for this course, prospective students must have one year patrol experience and must have successfully passed the SFST and ARIDE courses. Additionally, in order to be considered for training in the DRE program, a person must be employed under direct contact of a criminal justice agency or institution involved in providing training services to law enforcement agencies.
In order to register for this course, students are required to electronically submit a Training Request form as well as copies of their SFST and ARIDE certificates to DRE@chp.ca.gov. An email with a name and POST ID number will not suffice to reserve a roster spot. Students cannot be guaranteed a roster spot until all of the pre-requisites are met and the training request and certificates are submitted. A pre-requisite class that is scheduled to be completed prior to the DRE course cannot be substituted for a certificate for the purposes of securing a roster spot. Roster spots will be given on a first come, first served basis with emphasis placed on the student's geographic location in relation to the course.
There is no registration fee to attend this course. If a facility use fee is charged by the hosting agency, it will be noted in the expanded course description. This course is funded through the California Office of Traffic Safety DRE Grant.
Allied Agencies: CHP has collaborated and partnered with POST to begin reimbursing California law enforcement agencies to offset the travel costs associated with students attending DRE courses. Agencies seeking reimbursement through POST should have their DRE student submit a Training Reimbursement Request (TRR) form, POST 2-273 to the course manager on the first day of class. POST will reimburse California law enforcement agencies for subsistence expenses including lodging and meals, as well as travel to and from training while personnel attend DRE school and DRE field certifications. For more information on POST reimbursement rates, plans, and policies please visit https://www.post.ca.gov/pam-section-e.aspx.
CHP: CHP personnel will continue the current practice of seeking travel reimbursement through the California Automated Travel Expense Reimbursement System - CalATERS. Students of upcoming DRE courses who plan to claim travel and who do not yet have access to CalATERS, should fill out a CHP 168 and submit it well in advance of the class.
If your agency is interested in hosting this course at your training facility, please contact the DRE Coordinator, Officer Eric Stayer, at (916) 843-4363.