Fayette deputies receive awards

Investigator Chad Wallace, L, at a March 27 Ga. Police Academy ceremony received a bronze pin from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for 27 DUI arrests made in 2013 and Dep. Robert Kersey, R, received the academic award for the highest testing average in the 35th Drug Recognition Expert class. The officers were joined by Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb, center, who attended the event in College Park. Photo/Special.

Two members of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office were recognized March 27 in a ceremony held by the Ga. Police Academy in College Park.

Investigator Chad Wallace received a bronze pin from the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) organization for his efforts in arresting motorists found to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Wallace made 27 DUI arrests in 2013.

Also at the ceremony, Deputy Robert Kersey received an academic award from the first phase of the academy’s Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) course. Kersey had the highest academic average of those participating in the course.

Sheriff Barry Babb said to obtain a DRE certification officers must successfully complete training where they must have competency in areas such as the physiology of the body, how each type of drug affects the body and the effects of drug use. Upon successfully completing the classroom portion, students must go to Arizona to complete field evaluations of actual subjects impaired by drugs, Babb said.

A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) is an officer trained as an internationally recognized expert in the identification of impaired drivers, in particular those drivers impaired by drugs. DREs use a 12-step evaluation process to determine three things: if the person is impaired, if the impairment is due to a medical emergency or drugs and, if impaired by drugs, which drug category or categories are causing the impairment.

“With training and hardworking deputies like Wallace and Kersey, we are discovering and taking more drug-related DUIs off the street more than ever. It is our goal to tackle this serious crime and make our highways in Fayette safer,” said Babb.

Investigator Chad Cowart is also a trained DRE in the traffic enforcement section, Babb said.