Peru Police Sergeant Mike Vinopal recently completed an intense three-phase program to become the department's first certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE.)

"The Peru Police Department has been in need of a Drug Recognition Expert for some time. With the rise in usage of so many narcotics, we felt having a DRE was invaluable to our department and our city," said Chief Michael Meeks. "We see a lot of drivers who appear to be impaired on something other than alcohol. Sergeant Vinopal will be able to use his knowledge to better understand what a driver may be under the influence of."

Sergeant Vinopal is only one of 250 DRE's in the State of Indiana. He is a 15-year veteran of the Peru Police Department.

Here is the training Sergeant Vinopal completed:

Sergeant Vinopal initially had to go through a phase consisting of 16 hours of basic knowledge a prospective candidate will need in order to successfully complete the following seven-day course. Training during this portion consists of skills learned in taking accurate vitals signs, pulse, blood pressure, and body temperature. Students are also given hands-on practice in pupillary estimation, pupillary response, examination of muscle tone, and an overview of the seven basic drug categories used in the DECP.

Next, Sergeant Vinopal had to complete a seven-day course. This course deals with physiology, toxicology, the overall drug evaluation, and familiarization with the seven drug category matrix used in determination of drug psychoactivity. This portion includes three written examinations, as well as five quizzes, and a demonstration of proficiency in SFSTs. (Prior certification in SFST is required.)

Finally, Sergeant Vinopal was required to successfully demonstrate proficiency in performing the entire drug evaluation known as the Certification Phase. The requirements of this portion included evaluating at least twelve drug-impaired individuals under the supervision of a DRE instructor, identifying three of the seven drug categories, attaining an 80% correct identification rate verified by toxicology.