Drug detection course for law enforcement cancelled in Hiawassee

ARIDE training

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Advanced Roadside Impairment Detection Enforcement (ARIDE) training was cancelled this week due to a lack of law enforcement officers who enrolled in the two-day course, scheduled to take place in downtown Hiawassee. A total of 13 participants from surrounding areas, including four Hiawassee Police Department officers, planned to take part in the drug detection training. The Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC) required a minimum of 15 enrolled officers, however, to hold the course.

According to information received from GPSTC, no Towns County Sheriff’s Office deputies signed up for the class.

In late March, Hiawassee Police Department announced their intention to host the training, May 23 – 24, held at Hiawassee City Hall. The 16-hour course was designed to enhance law enforcement officers’ ability to recognize psychophysical and clinical indicators of impairment consistent with a subject who is under the influence of drugs, or a combination of drugs and alcohol, while taking appropriate action.

“A training officer with the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, GA contacted Sgt. Travis Gibson with the Clayton Police Department, seeking a location in North Georgia to host the class” Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith told FYN in March. “Sgt. Gibson, a part time officer with Hiawassee Police Department, requested the use of the Training Room at the Hiawassee City Hall for the two day course. The class is open to all law enforcement officers who wish to attend. Sgt. Gibson, a Drug Recognition Expert, will be one of the two instructors.”

The course was intended to build upon skills learned in Standard Field Sobriety Testing training in which law enforcement officers would have focused on identifying and assessing motorists suspected of driving under the influence, Smith explained. The purpose was to reduce the amount of impaired drivers, and in turn, lessen impaired driving collisions.

The two-day ARIDE course was free of charge for qualified law enforcement officers. Prior DUI – Standard Field Sobriety Testing training was required.


Robin H. Webb

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