Stricter punishment for repeat DUI offenders passes unanimously in a legislative committee this week, the proposed bill would make the offense a felony for repeat offenders.
The Colorado Peace Officer Standards of training board requires that everyone graduating from the police academy has to be certified in voluntary field sobriety testing before they graduate. Many police academy cadets lined up to practice sobriety testing on each other today, before trying out the real deal on some volunteers under the influence.
Sheriff's Deputy and drug recognition expert Ben Carnes teaches the three day DUI Sobriety Training.
"For everybody in the classroom today, these people are in an academy with no prior law enforcement experience so this is one of the first steps in them becoming peace officers," said Carnes.
Cadets in the program are in week five of a 16 week Peace Officer Training Course. Trainee Andy Martsolf said the two days leading up to the "wet lab" were very informative.
"Learning a lot of the history about the standardized tests that we have been performing and how to identify impaired drivers and the procedure for testing them for intoxication," said Martsolf.
Members of the community volunteered to drink up for the class. Each volunteer drank just enough to bring them just above the legal driving limit of .08.
"This is in a controlled environment we are not taking people out of the jail to be our drinkers we have known people members of the community come do this," said Carnes.
The wet lab portion of the class lasted about four hours on Friday and will continue on Saturday.
Colorado is one of five states that does not have felony convictions for DUI's and according to a recent study, between 2005 and 2007 one third of those arrested for DUI were repeat offenders.