Fond du Lac County Deputies Work to Become Drug Recognition Experts

When police encounter a person that is under the influence
of drugs, it’s not always easy to tell exactly what may be in their system.
That’s why the Fond du Lac
Sheriff’s Office
has some deputies train to become Drug Recognition Experts. Deputy Luke Olson
went through the training, and says he may be called in to help another officer
who is on scene. 

He says “each drug is going
to have a different effect on the body, so it’s difficult to – for someone that
doesn’t have the training that we have – to determine that this person is
probably high on cannabis, marijuana or cocaine or some type of narcotic.”

Deputy Andrea Dowland also spent several weeks in Milwaukee learning how to
spot the effects of different drugs on the human body. 

She tells us “it’s a very
extensive training, but then part of it we actually hit the streets of the City
of Milwaukee with Milwaukee police officers and we would just make consensual
contact with people walking down the street and ask them if they’re smoking
crack or using marijuana. Most of them were pretty cooperative and we’d ask
them to come with us and do our tests.”

She adds that with the prevalence of drug use in society, it’s
important to know how they affect a person. Dowland adds that 
“it’s definitely out
there and the biggest thing is that we have to train our deputies to recognize
all of it. When you have alcohol on board, sometimes it’s hard to know is it
the alcohol that’s making people act different and not normal or is it a drug
or is it a combination of both? So it’s educating the deputies as well on what
to look for.”

Deputy  Olson explains that there are a number of things that may tip off the use of certain drugs. 

He says “we have general
indicators that we kind of go off of. There are seven different drug categories
that we’re trained to recognize and each category has its own general
indicators, whether it be body tremors, eyelid tremors. Someone that’s high on
a narcotic, they’re going to be on the nod or something like that. We’ll make
contact with them, be like ‘hey would you be willing to help us out and help us
learn how certain drugs affect the human body.”

The extensive training program takes several weeks to
complete. Olson says he has a bachelor’s degree from UW-Oshkosh, but the drug
recognition program is, by far, the most difficult class he has ever taken part