The Great Barrington Police Department announces the graduation of one of its officers, putting Great Barrington on the forefront of combatting driving while under the influence of drugs.

Earlier this year, Officer Christopher Peebles completed intensive training in the Drug Evaluation and Certification Program (DECP) to become certified as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). DRE’s are trained to recognize when an individual has been driving under the influence of drugs and determine which category of drugs is causing the impairment. There are currently 160 certified DRE’s in Massachusetts and only one other trained officer in Berkshire County.

The DECP was developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and approved by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). The Massachusetts DECP was initiated in 1995. Upon completion of their initial training, officers are certified as DREs and become far more effective in identifying drug-impaired individuals.

Officer Peebles attended two weeks of classroom training and testing in Franklin, MA followed by a week in Phoenix, Arizona where he completed the certification phase of the training. While there, training consisted of testing incoming inmates from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department.

DRE certification is valid for two years.

Chief William Walsh stated,” I am very proud of Officer Peebles successful completion of the very challenging and difficult Drug Recognition Expert Program. The deployment of this officer with his knowledge, skill and expertise in the area of drugged driving detection will certainly increase the overall safety of the motorist traveling throughout the Town of Great Barrington.”

(information sent to WSBS from the Great Barrington Police Department for online and on air use; photo taken from the Great Barrington Police Department's Facebook page)

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