Drug Recognition Expert Program

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Iowa Drug Evaluation and Classification Program

In 1991, Iowa was the 24th state to implement the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DECP). Iowa has 127 active Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), including 25 instructors, working in 50 of Iowa's 99 counties. As a certified DRE, an officer is able to determine if a subject is impaired and unable to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner. The DRE rules out medical reasons for impairment. Several cases have been documented where the DRE has saved the life of a subject by referring them to medical care. After the 12-step evaluation, the DRE determines which category of drug(s) is influencing the subject at the time of the evaluation. The goal of the DECP is to reduce drug impaired driving crashes. 

The DECP is administered by the Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau with training funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The International Association of Chief's of Police (IACP) and NHTSA developed the training curriculum for certification and re-certification of the officers as DRE.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) laboratory conducts the toxicologic testing for the DRE program. The successful prosecution of a DRE case is dependent upon the teamwork of the DRE, DCI Lab, the local County Attorney's Office and the Prosecuting Attorney's Training Council (PATC).

There are currently 50 states participating in the DECP with over 10,000 DREs and instructors nationwide.


Watch KCRG-TV's Report on the Iowa DRE Program

Agency Responsibilities

Agencies that wish to participate in the DRE Program should be aware of the following commitments and expectations.

  • Strong agency support for traffic enforcement

  • Ongoing OWI public information and education

  • A training commitment of 20 days

Participating agencies are requested to demonstrate their commitment to the DECP in several ways:

  • Encourage the DRE to aggressively seek opportunities to utilize their expertise
  • Allow the DRE to respond to calls for DRE evaluations whenever possible
  • Make themselves available to County Attorneys on impaired driving cases.

DRE Candidates

DRE Class for 2021 Pending

DRE candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Certified peace officer with extensive OWI and traffic enforcement background to include courtroom testimony;
  • Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) certified in OWI/traffic enforcement and prosecution;
  • Submit a letter and subsequent application for review

The DRE training consists of several phases:

  • Pre-DRE School:  2 days
  • DRE School:  8 days
  • In-state Certification:  3 nights
  • Out-of-state Certification:  7 nights

The DRE is required to maintain a log of evaluations and requests, and enter the information into the national DRE database.


DRE Training Schools

September 10-11, 2020 DRE Pre-School, Altoona, IA Cancelled

September 14-18, 2020 DRE School, Altoona, IA   Cancelled

September 21-23, 2020 DRE School, Altoona, IA   Cancelled

September 24-26, 2020 In-state DRE Field Certifications, Des Moines, IA    Cancelled

October 11-18, 2020 out-of-state DRE Field Certification, Phoenix, AZ   Cancelled

* Cancellations due to COVID-19.  FFY 2021 Schools TBD

DRE Re-Certification Training

September 8, 2020 Iowa State Patrol District 7, Ft. Dodge, IA  Registration

September 17, 2020 Prairie Hills Training S.O. Center, Sioux City, IA      Registration

September 21, 2020 Waterloo Center for the Arts, Waterloo, IA        Registration

October 13, 2020 Iowa State Patrol District 12, Stockton, IA       Registration

October 26, 2020 Des Moines Police Academy, Des Moines, IA   Registration


DRE Forms

DRE Forms

DRE Awards

Iowa GTSB Drug Recognition Expert Awards

Each year, at the annual Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau Annual Conference in the spring, several awards are presented to local law enforcement officers and agencies that have had a major impact on traffic safety. Below are the awards relating to the DRE Program.  


In 1992, Polk County Deputy Sheriff Kipton Hayward was among the first officers in Iowa to be certified as a Drug Recognition Expert while he was assigned to Polk County’s Alcohol Safety Action Program, or ASAP, unit. He served in that capacity until the early morning hours of October 9, 1993, when he was on the scene of a fatality crash involving a drunk driver. While performing collision-related duties, Deputy Hayward was struck and killed by a passing motorist, who continued driving from the scene and was stopped over one mile away by an Iowa State Trooper. That driver was also found to be intoxicated by drugs and alcohol. In 1994, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau memorialized Deputy Hayward’s ultimate sacrifice by forming the “Kip Hayward Award”. In 1995, the GTSB began awarding one DRE officer or civilian having a significant impact on our DRE program each year at this very conference. This award was designed to select a person who epitomizes what Deputy Hayward stood for and to honor their exemplary service to the citizens of the State of Iowa in combating impaired driving. This award is a very special award amongst the DRE community and it signifies an officer or civilian reaching the highest mark in excellence to combating impaired driving.

Kip Hayward Nomination Form

2019 Kip Hayward Award Recipient

Past Kip Hayward Award Recipients

Other DRE Awards

(DRE School Class Valedictorian Award)

Jim Meyerdirk was the Iowa Drug Recognition Expert State Coordinator from 2009 until his untimely passing on May 1, 2018, just one day after announcing his retirement.  He served the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau and the DRE community with distinction and honor.

During his time as the DRE State Coordinator, Jim worked to promote impaired driving awareness and developed innovative ways to utilize his DREs in special projects to combat impaired driving.  During those nine years, Jim eliminated DREs who were not active, he brought on several new DREs, he started ARIDE in Iowa and insisted we train officers those ARIDE techniques in person and not electronically. Jim worked with the DRE Advisory Board to make our DRE standards in Iowa more stringent than those required by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.  As a result, the Iowa DRE Program saw the largest increase in quality enforcement evaluations being done per DRE officer ever recorded in Iowa.

With Jim’s leadership, tenacity for targeting impaired drivers, and his vision, the Iowa DRE Program became nationally recognized as one of the best in the country.  Iowa was singled out for recognition in 2014 & 2015 for coming in third in the country for the amount of drug influence evaluations being done per DRE and the Iowa Program continues to rank among the best nationally every year.  In addition, those who knew Jim knew that the Class Valedictorian Award was one of his favorite awards and Jim really enjoyed watching the students compete academically.

To honor the memory of Jim, on May 16, 2018, the DRE Advisory Board unanimously decided that the DRE School Class Valedictorian Award be officially changed to the, “Jim Meyerdirk Award for Academic Excellence.”

The 2019 Drug Recognition Expert School winner of the inaugural “Jim Meyerdirk Award for Academic Excellence” is Officer Jeremy Engle from the Des Moines Police Department.

Previous Jim Meyerdirk Award Recipients 


DRE Annual Conference

The 26th Annual IACP Training Conference
on Drugs, Alcohol, and Impaired Driving

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August 6-8, 2020 Virtual Presentations
For further information visit the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference web site at www.theiacp.org/DAIDconference

This event is not open to the general public, and is limited to sworn officers, first responders, and civilian employees of public safety and government agencies. Public safety includes offices of police, sheriffs, EMS, fire service, hazmat and park rangers from federal, state, city, county, campus and tribal agencies. Credentials required at check in.

For any questions, contact the conference team at: DAIDConference@theiacp.org

Any agency with questions regarding this conference, please contact the State DRE Coordinator at: Office: 515.725.6122 or by e-mail at olmstead@dps.state.ia.us


Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (A.R.I.D.E.)

A. R. I. D. E.
About the school….
          ARIDE is a free 16-hour training option bridging the gap between SFST and DRE for Law Enforcement officers.

Course Description: This is an intermediate level course designed to offer more than a basic understanding of the impairing effects of drugs (illicit and licit), alcohol, and/or the combination of both. The officer must be able to administer and interpret the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test for alcohol‐impaired suspects, and be proficient in the administration and evaluation of the battery of tests involved with SFST. The officer will be required to pass an SFST proficiency examination the first day of training. The student who successfully completes this training will be able to recognize that an individual may be under the influence of a drug or drugs other than alcohol, or under the combined influence of alcohol and other drugs, or suffering from some injury or illness that produces signs similar to alcohol/drug impairment. Additionally, the student will be able to recognize the broad category or categories of drugs inducing the observable signs of impairment. County Attorney’s and Law enforcement officers actively involved in proactive OWI and traffic law enforcement are encouraged to attend this hands-on intensive two day training program. County Attorneys are encouraged to attend all or any part of the two day training.  All training aids, materials and supplies will be provided at no cost to the participant by GTSB.

Courses are Limited to the First 30 Registrants

Due to COVID-19 all remaining ARIDE classes for calendar year 2020 have been cancelled and no further ARIDE classes will be scheduled until calendar year 2021.

Upcoming A.R.I.D.E. Training:

March 24-25, 2020, Davenport Police Department, 416 N. Harrison Street, Davenport, IA  52803   Cancelled

April 2-3, 2020, Joint Emergency Communications Center, 4529 Melrose Ave., Iowa City, IA 52246  Cancelled

April 9-10, 2020, Dubuque County Emergency Responder Training Facility, 14928 Public Safety Way, Dubuque, IA 52002  Cancelled

April 15-16, 2020, Decorah City Hall Council Chambers, 400 Clairborne Drive, Decorah, IA 52101   Cancelled

May 18-19, 2020, Knoxville Public Library, 213 E. Montgomery Street, Knoxville, IA 50138     Cancelled

June 17-18, 2020, Southwestern Community College, 2520 College Drive, Osceola, IA 50213  Cancelled

June 24-25, 2020, Prairie Hills S.O. Work Release, 1600 County Home Road, Sioux City, IA 51106  Cancelled

For additional information contact:

Todd Olmstead, State of Iowa DRE Program Manager
Phone 515.725.6122
E-mail: olmstead@dps.state.ia.us