Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) is the basis for all impaired driving investigations. The SFST program provides officers the necessary information to conduct the maneuvers in a manner that assists—rather than undermines—prosecution of DUI related cases. Basic SFST training is taught at all law enforcement academies in the state of Montana (three per year). Initial SFST program training is taught as a 24 hour course, as set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
SFST Recertification/Refresher Training - Montana is one of the few states in the nation that offers a certified SFST refresher training. The Montana state SFST refresher course is designed to give law enforcement officers updates on technologies and to refresh the officer’s knowledge of the testing procedures. This four-hour curriculum has been borrowed by other states and is currently being used as a model for states around the nation.
ARIDE is a 16-hour curriculum is designed to help officers become more proficient at detecting, apprehending, testing and prosecuting impaired drivers. The ARIDE course bridges the gap between SFST training and the DRE program. ARIDE offers additional information to law enforcement officers on detecting impairment caused by more than just alcohol.
This course was not designed to be offered in a basic academy to new police recruits. This is an intermediate level course designed to offer more than a basic understanding of the impairing effects of drugs (both illicit and licit), alcohol, and/or the combination of both. Officers who wish to become a DRE in Montana must attend and satisfactorily pass the ARIDE training course.
Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Training
A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) is an officer who has been specially trained to conduct an examination on a person to determine if the person is impaired and, if so, whether the impairment is caused by drug use or by a medical condition.
The DRE examination is conducted in a controlled environment utilizing a standardized and systematic 12-step process. Once the examination is completed, the DRE is able to determine which of the seven main drug categories the suspect has used (narcotic analgesics, hallucinogens, cannabinoids, disassociative anesthetics, inhalants, central nervous system depressants, central nervous system stimulants).
Drug Recognition Experts can be used in a variety of ways, from DUI enforcement to internal drug-related investigations. DRE evidence is admissible in court and is valuable in DUI cases that are a result of drug impairment.