POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 39 Truro Police Training TRURO – It’s an additional tool that they can keep in their arsenal of things, and it was something the force has needed. Two constables - Justin Russell and Robert John Hunka - are the town newest drug recognition experts with the Truro Police Service, a service that the force has needed for some time now. “I’ve had an interest in impaired driving and this is just another avenue that we could be involved with in the detection of impaired driving,” said Russell about why he wanted to spend three weeks in Phoenix taking the training course. “There are 70,000 police officers in Canada and only 600 with this training. It was a large undertaking to go away for the course but it gives us another thing we can do, to be able to conduct this test” It’s was Hunka’s involvement with the drug unit, as well as his current involvement with the local MADD chapter, that brought about this desire for the training. “We recognize that this is a major concern and having this training will help us make the roads that much safer,” he said. Since returning as drug recognition experts, the force has already had one successful charge on a male. “I was able to determine his ability to operate his motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol and cannabis,” said Hunka. When it comes to impaired driving by drug, it falls under the same Criminal Code section as if the motorist was under the influence of alcohol. Refusing a drug test would be the same charge as refusing a test regarding alcohol. Many of the signs of being impaired by drug are the same, including weaving on the road and delayed and or no breaking. The officers said there are seven different drug categories tested for. “Seventy per cent of drivers are using more than one drug, whether it’s alcohol, cannabis or other stimulants,” said Hunka. Truro Police Officers Trained As Drug Recognition Experts RAISSA TETANISH – PUBLISHED IN TRURO DAILY NEWS Robert John Hunka, a constable with the Truro Police Service, walks a straight line toward Const. Justin Russell to demonstrate one of the tests conducted on suspected drivers impaired by drugs. The two offices are newly certified as drug recognition experts. During a drug test, there are 12 steps to be evaluated, which can include things such as blood pressure, pulse rate and muscle dexterity. They also use a pupillometer on a suspected impaired driver’s eyes in a dark room. Although they both have training neither officer knows just how often it will be needed. “We don’t really have an idea,” said Russell, who is also the forces K-9 officer. “It could be like my K-9 work - you can be busy for a while, and then not have a single call. It’s really hit or miss so we can’t really determine that.” “We hope to think it would be never.” Hunka added. “But the reality is that it could be daily or a weekly basis.” The drug recognition experts said many people don’t realize that even if they are taking prescription drugs on their doctor’s advice, it could still impair them to the point where they can’t drive. “You can be impaired by your own prescription. People should take the time to speak with their pharmacist to see if they can still drive,” said Hunka. On Twitter: @TDNRaissa “We reconginzed that this is a major concern and having this training will help us make the roads that much safer” A pupillometer is one tool the new drug recognition experts with the Truro Police Service - Constables Justing Russell and Robert John Hunka - will use when trying to determine if a driver is impaired by drugs.