Members of the DUI squad may detect an impaired driver by simply enforcing traffic laws on their own, responding to collisions, or answering a request by a patrol officer who stops a driver they suspect might be impaired by alcohol and/or other drugs.
The shift hours are 7:30 PM to 4:30 AM, but each officer is on call 24/7 to respond to serious collisions to assist the Traffic Collision Investigation detectives to evaluate possible drug impairment of involved drivers.
During the winter holidays the squad is augmented by equally trained patrol officers for an emphasis patrol known as “Drunk Net.”
DUI officers appear in court quite frequently, as impaired driving cases are the most litigated misdemeanor crime in the state.
Most of the officers are trained and qualified as Drug Recognition Experts or “DRE’s.” The training to become a DRE is extensive, lasting two weeks. This training includes a field certification process and one day final exam. Each DRE must recertify every two years, and attend frequent in-service training. DRE’s evaluate drivers to determine if they are under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol, and are part of a statewide network of officers from other law enforcement agencies. They may be called outside of the city to assist as necessary. The DRE’s work is backed up by the Washington State Toxicologist who analyzes blood samples submitted by DRE’s following an impairment evaluation and/or arrest.