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Hewitt is first KCSO drug recognition expert deputy

Posted: June 27, 2014 3:14 p.m.
Updated: June 30, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Deputy Kyle Hewitt recently received Drug Recognition Expert certification (DRE) following completion of a training, evaluation and testing program. Hewitt is the first law enforcement officer from the KCSO to receive this certification.

The certification process began in February at the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy with Hewitt being one of 60 officers to undergo evaluation. Twenty officers, including Hewitt, were chosen from that initial pool to continue training. The certification process concluded this month in Phoenix, Ariz., where officers underwent a week of evaluations and testing. Those who successfully completed DRE training are now certified to evaluate an impaired driver who is not under the influence of alcohol and determine what category of drug has caused their impairment.

According to Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews, there is only one other DRE certified law enforcement officer in Kershaw County, a S.C. Highway Patrol trooper, aside from Hewitt. Less than 1 percent of law enforcement officers in South Carolina carry the certification.

Matthews said a grant funded Hewitt’s certification, covering the training, travel, lodging and other expenses, a savings to Kershaw County taxpayers. Hewitt is currently assigned to the KCSO Traffic Unit and was formerly employed by the Camden Police Department.

Matthews said Hewitt’s training will be valuable in detecting impaired drivers and getting them off the road, adding that impairment is not always from alcohol.

Alcohol intoxication is most often associated with DUI arrests. However, it continues to be increasingly apparent that an ever increasing number of DUI incidents involve motorists who are impaired due to medications or illicit drugs,” Matthews said. “The DRE certification that Deputy Hewitt received provides him with the expertise and training to determine the type of substance that impairs a DUI suspect, if alcohol is not indicated.”

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