MINOT — The Ward County Sheriff’s Department has its first certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), Deputy Casey Visocsky.
Visocsky completed a three-week training on recognizing drug impairment.
“We did two weeks in Bismarck, with deputies from all over the state,” Visocsky explained. “There was 14 in the class, and 13 that were certified in the end.”
At the class in Bismarck, Visocsky says there were people from all different municipalities across the state. The last week was then spent in Mesa, Arizona.
“We were at the Mesa Police Department and conducted basically live evaluations on impaired people at their jail,” said Visocsky.
Before the training, Visocsky, born and raised in Minot, was a road deputy, having worked for the Surrey Police Department for 3 years and the Ward County Sheriff’s Department for another 3 years.
“This is the first DRE that Ward County has had,” Visocsky explained. “I’ll still be a road deputy, but I’ll be on call for evaluations for drug-impaired people.”
Visocsky described the type of work he will be doing, “If an officer makes an arrest or they suspect impairment caused by drugs, alcohol, or both, they’ll contact a DRE to conduct an evaluation. We’ll do a full evaluation which takes about an hour and try to narrow it down to about seven different drug categories.”
The DREs do not attempt to determine what exact drug a person might be impaired by, but rather the category, according to Visocsky. They also try to rule out impairments that may be caused by a medical condition.
“Going through this training, you’ll look back on your career, and traffic stops you’ve done, and say, ‘I remember seeing this before,’” said Visocsky, explaining what he learned from the training, compared to what he already knew. “It was not familiar in your head at that time before this training that we had.”
Visocsky started his work as the first DRE for the Ward County Sheriff’s Department on Monday.