Acting Sergeant Jeremy Morrison rides shotgun with students sporting
Fatal Vision Goggles
As they navigated a golf cart cone course and a walking course during a campus observance of National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, students may have been able to see well through Fatal Vision Goggles, but their equilibrium was impaired.
Viewing through the goggles is clear, but confusing to the mind. The wearer experiences a loss of equilibrium, which is one of the effects of intoxication. Both the wearer and those observing are convinced that such impairment makes activities with known risks, such as driving vehicles, very dangerous.
UTC Campus Police Department and Student Development co-sponsored the event. The Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office provided the goggles to the UTC Campus Police Department.
UTC Police Chief Robert Ratchford says special training is required for a police officer to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to alcohol. UTC Campus Police Department, Acting Sergeant Jeremy Morrison, has received Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) certification. He is the only university police officer in the state of Tennessee who is certified as a DRE.
“DREs have used, and continue to use, their specialized training and skills to assist in many other areas of public safety. Many DREs are considered the drug experts in their communities and their agencies,” said Ratchford.
The roots of the DRE program began in the Los Angeles Police Department in the early 1970s, when officers noticed many individuals arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) had very low to zero alcohol concentrations. The officers suspected that the arrestees were under the influence of drugs, but needed the skills to support their suspicions.
As Corporal Rebecca Tolbert and Sergeant Paul Dodds
look on, a student struggles to walk the line with Fatal
Two LAPD sergeants worked with medical doctors, research psychologists, and other medical professionals to develop a standardized procedure for recognizing drug influence and impairment. Their efforts culminated in the development of a multi-step protocol and the first DRE program. The LAPD formally recognized the program in 1979. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the LAPD then collaborated, and their demonstrated that a properly trained DRE can identify drug impairment and accurately determine the category of drugs causing such impairment.
Morrison completed NHTSA/International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Standardized Field Sobriety Testing in August of 2006. He then applied for DRE and he received a letter of recommendation from District Attorney Jay Woods.
Morrison attended DRE Pre-School and Drug Evaluation and Classification Training and DRE School in April of 2007 and finished the phases and completed the final knowledge exam in September 2007.
“We are extremely proud of his accomplishment and dedication to his chosen profession, the University Police Department, and the overall mission of the University,” Ratchford said.