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Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Program

What is a DRE?

A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) is an officer who has received specialized training and has been credentialed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police to evaluate suspects and determine:

  1. If the subject is impaired.
  2. If a medical condition is causing the impairment, or
  3. If a drug is causing impairment, which drug category(s).

There are more than 8,000 officers in the United States certified...approximately 1.1% of all law enforcement officers.

Academic Training

This phase is typically conducted over nine days (72 hours). It includes courses in physiology, vital signs, standardized field sobriety testing (SFST), as well as extensive material on each of the seven categories of the drugs of abuse. The training includes two written examinations, an SFST proficiency examination and five written quizzes. Students must achieve a minimum of 80% on the two examinations and demonstrate proficiency in administering the SFST in order to progress to the certification phase. The academic training is conducted utilizing creative, participant-centered teaching techniques.

DRE school is a demanding course and is by application only. Once an officer becomes a DRE, recertification is required every two years. After the first recertification, a DRE can apply to become an instructor. Complete information for each course can be found by clicking the appropriate links below:

Certification Phase

Students are required to complete the certification requirements within three months following the DRE school. These requirements include: conducting a minimum of 12 drug influence evaluations while under the supervision of a DRE instructor; passing a comprehensive final knowledge examination, and obtaining the written endorsement of two certified DRE instructors that supervised their training evaluations. Field certification training in Jacksonville is typically offered on the Friday and Saturday following the academic training to help obtain the required drug influence evaluations.

How does a Florida law enforcement officer become a DRE?

  • The officer must request an application from the State Coordinator, Tim Cornelius.
  • The officer must have completed the 24-hour NHTSA DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Training (SFST) course and demonstrate proficiency in all tasks.
  • The officer should have experience in detecting and arresting DUI's to include testimony in court.
  • The officer must have completed the 16-hour NHTSA Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) course.
  • The officer will be required to obtain a written endorsement from an Assistant State Attorney in the officer's circuit.
  • The officer must also be recommended by his/her Chief or Sheriff and the recommendation of another DRE is highly recommended.
  • Applicants can also receive information from one of the Regional DRE Coordinators.

This course is by application only. No registrations are accepted. Lodging at the preselected hotel and travel expenses are covered for students traveling 50+ miles to the training site.

Request an Application

forwardDrug Recognition Expert (DRE) School

  • May 6-16, 2024, Clearwater
    Field Certs: May 17-18
  • July 8-18, 2024, Orlando
    Field Certs: July 19-20

forwardDRE Recertification Training

  • In Person:  June 7, Orlando
  • Online: Start anytime!

forwardDRE Instructor

  • In Person: TBD

forwardDRE Preparatory Class (Online)

  • Online: Grant-funded. Start anytime!

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Utilizing Drug Recognition Experts (DREs)

Video Transcript

Regional Coordinators

Florida DRE Coordinator

Tim Cornelius
Institute of Police Technology and Management 

Region I

Detective John Cullen
Jacksonville Sheriffs Office

Region II

Lieutenant Allan Kolak 
Cape Coral Police Department  

Region III

Officer Kevin Millan
Miami Beach Police Department

Region IV - FHP and FWC

Lieutenant Channing Taylor
Florida Highway Patrol 

Map of Florida counties with 3 regions (north, southeast, southwest)For questions about regions, contact State DRE Coordinator, Tim Cornelius, at (904) 620-4786.
The DRE Program is funded for Florida officers by the Florida Department of Transportation. 
For more information, please visit The International Drug Evaluation & Classification Program website.