The heroin epidemic is increasing the number of impaired drivers on Kentucky roads and law enforcement officials are being trained this week to better cope with the problem.
Dozens of Kentucky law enforcement officials are being trained this week at a three day, seminar in Lexington called Protecting Lives, Saving Futures. The group includes police officers and prosecutors.
Participants are being briefed on detection, apprehension, and prosecution of impaired drivers.
Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Bob Stokes said it’s important to have proper training to deal with impaired drivers and share tactics that work.
“That allows each law enforcement officer to learn new alternatives that they haven’t actually come in contact with themselves, but they can learn through other law enforcement officers based on what they’re seeing in other parts of the state,” Stokes said.
While interaction between police and citizens has undergone increased scrutiny in the past few years, Stokes said reasons for stopping drivers haven’t changed. “It’s the behavior of the driver. Observations that the officer has, whether it’s the smell of alcohol, you know the slurred speech and things like that,” noted Stokes.
In addition to ongoing issues with alcohol and driving, Stokes says illicit drugs like heroin and prescription pills account for many stops involving impaired drivers.
The “Protecting Lives, Saving Futures” regional seminar is funded through the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety and was organized with the help of the state attorney general’s office.