Officer Joseph Mahanna is Second Riverside Officer to get DRE Expert Standing.
Driving under the influence is a crime that affects thousands of people across our nation every year. Deaths resulting from impaired driving have been an issue for decades, and are still a factor in our society today. A common misconception is that an arrest, or conviction, for Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, only involves alcohol impaired driving.
While alcohol is the most commonly abused substance that results in these types of arrests, it is only one, of many substances, that can impair one’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. In addition to alcohol, several other substances have resulted in deaths due to impaired driving. Illicit street drugs, prescription pills, and other house hold substances can affect the sympathetic, and parasympathetic regions of the brain; resulting in impairment, when abused.
To better understand what this means, we must first understand the definition of the term, “Drug”, as it pertains to the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program. Simply defined, a, “Drug”, is, “Any substance that can impair one’s ability to operate a vehicle safely, when introduced into the human body”.
With this definition in mind, it is clear that several different substances can be used to create a drug induced, “high”, resulting in impairment. In addition to alcohol, common household items like solvents, “Dust Off”, cold medications, as well as illicit street drugs, can all cause impairment if abused.
Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel stated, “Officer Mahanna is trained as a Drug Recognition Expert and is able to conduct intensive, non-invasive, evaluations of subjects suspected to be impaired by a substance other than alcohol. Through this evaluation, the D.R.E. is able to recognize specific types of impairment, and identify one or more categories of drugs impairing a particular individual. In addition, these evaluations can also allow the D.R.E. to determine that the person is not impaired or simply suffering from a medical issue”.
Officer Joseph Mahanna has successfully completed training in the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program, and has been certified as a D.R.E. This training is an intensive area of study, and he is only one of 115 certified D.R.E.’s in the State of Illinois.
The title of Drug Recognition Expert means that Officer Mahanna is able to be recognized by the courts as an, “Expert Witness”. As such, the Officer is able to give his or her professional opinions as opposed to simply stating facts.
Officer Brian Greenenwald is also certificated as a DRE Officer.