Civilians Help South Florida Officers Become Drug Recognition Experts

Miami Beach Police are working to make South Florida streets safer. The department hosted a Drug Recognition class Tuesday to help its officers better identify if you've had too many drinks.

The training, involving DUI simulation, is designed to make police officers Drug Recognition Experts.

"It's very common for someone to blow under the legal limit and they are still impaired," said Officer Kevin Millan with Miami Beach Police.

Officer Millian is in charge of a small group, in which each went through a vigorous process to be part of the exercise.

Officer Richard Rodriguez said he wants to be able to catch those intoxicated with something other than alcohol every time, "It's more than just alcohol, and there's people slipping through the cracks."

He's worked the streets for nine years; the last three at the MBPD.

Miami Beach is a place, he said, where applying this training will help make things safer.

"Miami Beach and Dade County as a whole because, remember, the party starts here but then everyone has to go home," Officer Rodriguez said.

"Drinking and driving or drugged driving is an every day danger for all of us as we drive around the streets of South Florida. Our goal is to take these people off the street," Officer Millan said.

The training involves the help of civilians, like Valerie Navarrete. She and the others in the room volunteered to drink until intoxicated, under the supervision of officers, to help with the hands-on training.

"We spend more time in the streets than we do at home, walking or driving, we are always out," she said.

The real-life intoxication helps create real scenarios for the officers' training.

"We can't give people drugs, obviously, but alcohol is the most common drug we see on an every day basis. So that's our starting block for us to properly train these officers," Millan said.

The special training will now put the officers in a special class.

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