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Oxford Police Department to lead DUI field test training in Mississippi

Law enforcement officers all over the state of Mississippi will soon receive their DUI field test training from one of Oxford Police Department’s own.

Last week, the Oxford Board of Aldermen voted to approve a grant from the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety to allow OPD to take over the state training for field testing to detect drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The grant is for $114,000 that will go toward the salary of one full-time trainer and a part-time administrative assistance, as well as costs associated with traveling around the state.

The training was previously provided through the MDHS’s Law Enforcement Liaison Office; however, OPD Chief Joey East said that office was closed recently.

“They would fund the teaching officers, set up schools and arrange to pay for materials,” he said. “Our officers would attend those training sessions.”

East said when he learned there was a need for a department to take over the field test training, he offered OPD up to facilitate the grant and take over all of the training. MDHS awarded OPD the grant for the remaining five months of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

“We have applied for the grant for the fiscal year 2017-2018 as well and hope to be able to continue doing the training,” he said.

The Standardized Field Sobriety Testing training prepares police officers and other qualified persons to administer and interpret the results of field sobriety tests. The tests are a battery of three tests performed during a traffic stop in order to determine if a driver is impaired that include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk-and-turn and the one-leg stand tests. The training is only for the field sobriety tests and not on the use of breathalyzers.

“It also teaches the officers how to efficiently write reports and testify in court on their arrests,” he said.

DUI Officer Rob Banks has been selected to teach the SFST around the state.

“He’s hit the ground running,” East said. “He left this morning to teach a class.”

Training sessions are scheduled for Oxford law enforcement later this month.