Pubdate: Tue, 06 Nov 2012
Source: Chatham Daily News, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2012 Chatham Daily News
Author: Vicki Gough
Page: 2


Chatham-Kent police are highlighting impaired driving during the
service's annual promotion of Crime Prevention Week, which runs until
Nov. 10.

This year's road safety initiative goes beyond targeting those who
drink and get the behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle.

Officers are also seeking out drivers impaired by drugs.

Const. Chris Baillargeon is one of only three Drug Recognition Experts
at the Chatham-Kent Police Service.

He became a breath technician in 1994, working with various breath
analysis instruments.

In 2006, Baillargeon enrolled in the drug recognition expert course at
the Ontario Police College in Aylmer.

A 12-step evaluation teaches the signs of symptoms of impaired driving
by drugs.

Seven categories of drugs include central nervous system stimulants
and depressants, inhalants, disassociated anaesthetics, narcotic
analgesics, cannabis and hallucinogens.

It took Baillargeon two years to become CKPS's first certified
instructor in drug recognition endorsed by the International
Association of Chiefs of Police.

Officers look at how steady someone is on their feet, whether their
speech is slurred or they have bloodshot eyes.

"Anything out of the ordinary," Baillargeon said.

One breath test is administered to rule out alcohol.

"If they don't blow over the legal limit, but their signs and symptoms
of impairment are heavy, we will read them the drug demand and call
the drug recognition officer."

Subsequent evaluation includes blood pressure, pulse, body temperature
and some divided attention tests, given over an hour period, to
determine if one is impaired, or if there is a medical problem.

If there are grounds to support an arrest for impairment, a urine
sample is demanded and sent to the Centre for Forensic Science to
confirm the officer's findings from the 12-step evaluation.

In six years CKPS has laid six charges of impaired by drug

"It's very difficult for the officers to pick out the signs and
symptoms if they haven't taken the course," Baillargeon said.

A super-jail in Phoenix Arizona provides certified officers with test
subjects so they can teach others how to determine if someone is
impaired by drugs.

"The thing we're finding now is it's not typically a night festivity.
There are a lot of people driving while impaired by prescription
drugs," Baillargeon said.

It's a senseless crime that affects everybody, he said. "Because
someone with a diminished mind, due to what they consumed wasn't
thinking properly at the time."

On Thursday, everyone is invited to St. Clair College for a symposium
on addiction to drugs and alcohol. The event begins at 7 p.m.
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