Training class in Atlantic teaches officers how to catch impaired persons


January 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Don’t be alarmed if you see numerous law enforcement vehicles parked near the fire station in Atlantic over the next couple of days. Cass County Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Bartholomew told KJAN News about 20 officers are being taught  Advanced Roadside Impairment Detection Enforcement, or ARIDE (A-Ride). The program was developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with input from the International Association of Chiefs of Police and other agencies.

The two-day course is designed to train multiple officers from around the area, the latest techniques in the proper conducting of Field Sobriety Tests for driver impairment. That includes the more advanced techniques on how to observe and test not only for alcohol impairment, but for narcotics as well. Bartholomew says when officers graduate from the Law Enforcement Academy, they have already been trained in standard Field Sobriety testing.

The advanced course provides them with any legal updates, and practical experience that allows them to become more proficient at conducting the tests. The whole purpose is to get impaired drivers off the road. The deputy says there will be 10 volunteers between the ages of 21 and 55, who meet specific weight criteria, who will be arriving at the fire station during the day. The volunteers will have consumed alcohol, and will be the subjects of Field Sobriety testing by the officers involved in the advanced course. Bartholomew says the officers will be evaluated on their performance and how well their case would stand-up in court based on that performance.

The volunteers will consume alcohol and be transported to the station and back home under strictly controlled conditions. They will also be provided with snacks during the process, and a meal afterward, for their efforts. Bartholomew says the officers who successfully complete the course receive national certification, and as such, will be included in their record that can follow them to any state and not require them to take any additional certification courses.