Twenty law enforcement officers and seven prosecutors, including Charlevoix County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Katrina Martin completed the two-week Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) School in Lansing from January 24 through February 3.
This training will enhance the attendees’ ability to detect and better prosecute drivers suspected to be under the influence of drugs.
While other states have DRE programs, Michigan is the only state that allows prosecutors to complete the training.
Martin has handled all driving cases involving impaired or intoxicated driving in Charlevoix County since 2012.
“Katrina is one of the leading traffic prosecutors in the state,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “Her commitment and knowledge in the area of impaired drivers are exceptional. Our county is very lucky to have her.”
The training was provided through the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan and was not paid for by Charlevoix County.
“This has always been an important area, but with medical marijuana growing in popularity, the ability to detect and prosecute drugged drivers is more critical than ever,” Telgenhof said. “For the first time since 2007, we had over 1,000 road deaths in Michigan. Drugs are a large factor.”
At the DRE training, Martin learned how impairment is detected and observed which will assist her in discovering and utilizing critical information and observations from non-DRE trained officers even when those officers initially failed to see the relevance of that information.
Information such as changes in attitude, levels of consciousness, or ability to carry on a conversation in an intelligent manner, may provide cause to suspect drug intoxication that had been missed initially.
Charlevoix County Corporal Nate Kaminski has also completed the DRE training and is qualified to testify as an expert in drug recognition in courts throughout Michigan.