Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.
When most officers hear Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) training, they think of three field tests. In fact, the SFST training consists of at least 16 hours of training in detecting the impaired driver, testing the driver, preparing a case against them, and then presenting that case at trial. The identification phase begins with three phases of detection: vehicle in motion, personal contact, and pre-arrest screening. It is during the pre-arrest screening phase that the field sobriety tests, horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and the one leg stand are administered.
Studies have shown that when an officer completes the SFST training course they are four times more successful at identifying impaired drivers. The Governor's Council on Impaired and Dangerous Driving requires that all officers participating in state funded enhanced patrols (i.e. Operation Pullover and DUI Indiana) demonstrate proficiency in the SFSTs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) strongly recommends that all officers assigned to patrol be properly trained and certified in the administration of these tests.
In 2002, the Law Enforcement Training Board mandated that officers be trained in SFST as a part of the basic officer curriculum. Training is available as an in-service officer at several locations across the state. Contact either your agency Training Officer or the SFST state coordinator. (See below)
The instructor course for SFST is an instructor development course with emphasis on the SFSTs. The only prerequisite for this class is prior certification in SFST. An officer must be trained as an instructor in the SFST program in order to teach it. Certification as an SFST instructor does not make someone an ILEA instructor. However, we are attempting to qualify the SFST Instructor training so it will meet ILEA instructor standards. An SFST instructor can get ILEA credits for their class with an ILEA accredited instructor in attendance during the class. All that is asked of the officer is that they attempt to teach in at least two SFST courses during the following year.
Training is provided for SFST Instructors at regional sites across the state. Courses are scheduled in the northern, central, and southern portions of the state. Contact the state coordinator (see below) for dates and training sites. Once an officer is certified as an instructor, they can schedule and host training in SFST. All materials for hosting a course, manuals, videos, handouts, and certificates are provided by the state at no cost. Supplemental instructors will also be provided. If an agency is hosting a class and would like to have extra instructors, contact the state coordinator and other instructors will be provided.
Commonly referred to as the Drug Recognition program, this training consists of nine days of classroom instruction in areas such as physiology, the onset and duration of drugs, the signs and symptoms that each category of drug causes when in the body, and how to administer and interpret the twelve-step test used in the drug recognition process. Immediately following the classroom training, a certification process begins.
The newly trained officer is required to test at least twelve drug-impaired individuals. This process provides hands-on training of drug impaired individuals and is somewhat like the alcohol workshops in the SFST program. The officer must have identified impairment in three of the seven drug categories. These tests need to be confirmed by toxicology. Once the officer is certified, they maintain the certification for two years, with an extra year as a grace period. During this time the officer needs to complete eight hours of in-service training and at least two drug evaluations each year. This process ensures the officers remain current on drug trends and new information.
For more information concerning training or assistance in these areas please contact:
Indiana Law Enforcement Academy
PO Box 313 Plainfield, Indiana 46168