The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) validated by NHTSA in the 1970’s are a widely accepted means of detecting impairment due to their accuracy and effectiveness at allowing law enforcement officers to detect and remove impaired drivers from roadways.
The development of the DWI Detection and SFST Instructor Development Course was a joint effort between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Transportation Safety Institute (TSI). It is designed to enable participants to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to effectively fill roles as instructors in support of the NHTSA/IACP DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) training program which targets the detection of impaired drivers.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has been designated as the statewide Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DECP) coordinator for the State of California. This program includes both the SFST and SFST Instructor courses. Quality SFST training is the foundation of the DECP because SFST is the first in a series of courses (SFST-ARIDE-DRE) developed to detect driving impairment by alcohol, drugs other than alcohol, or the combination of both drugs and alcohol. Mastery of SFSTs is essential for those who regularly encounter suspected impaired drivers and for those who want to advance to ARIDE and DRE training. Only those persons experienced in the techniques of performing SFSTs should become instructors in the program.
SFST Instructors are tasked with instructing for all California agencies. The Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) Instructor course is designed to equip law enforcement officers with the skills to provide instruction on the administration of SFSTs. The class teaches techniques for instructing adult learners and how to apply those techniques to the SFST course material.
This course is a 40 hour classroom course which includes instruction on:
To provide the opportunity for participants to apply instruction techniques demonstrated during the course, each participant is required to design and deliver a presentation on a session in the DWI/SFST curriculum. Strong emphasis is placed on assisting individual participants to expand and improve their teaching and training skills, regardless of their level of experience. Students will be required to give two 30 minute presentations during the classroom course and to pass the final exam with a score of 80% or higher.
In order to qualify for this course, prospective students must have successfully completed a minimum of 16 hours of a California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified SFST course consisting of IACP/NHTSA approved SFST instruction. Personnel should have at least one year experience of active use of the SFSTs once the class has been completed. Additionally, in order to be considered for training in the SFST Instructor 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 application (PDF) as well as a copy of their SFST certificate to DRE@chp.ca.gov. An email with a name and POST ID number will not suffice to reserve a roster spot.
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.
If your agency is interested in hosting this course at your training facility, please contact the SFST Instructor State Coordinator, Officer Gary Martens, at (916) 843-4362.