The number of Driving Under the Influence offenses continues to rise steadily.
According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol website, 1,910 D-U-I arrests were made in 2012.
2013 isn't off to a good start with 211 D-U-I arrests so far --- three of them fatal.
Minot Police Department's recently-named officer of the year Jason Bambenek says there's a different problem on the rise: the number of D-U-I arrests made for people under the influence of something OTHER than alcohol.
Senior Officer Bambenek and Jordan Freylek are the only two drug recognition experts with the Minot Police Department --- and Trooper Travis Skar with the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
The three officers are trained to break down seven different drug categories, not by looking at the substance, but by determining a person's behavior.
Bambenek says it's an honor to have been recognized for his specialty in the field, but he also feels a responsibility to inform fellow officers of the increasing non-alcohol D-U-I problem.
(Senior Officer Jason Bambenek, Minot Police Department Drug Recognition Expert) "We have a lot more people that are driving under the influence of something other than alcohol right now. That's increasing. However, the training hasn't really increased for law enforcement to detect it. So it is an honor but I'm trying to train and give that advice to everybody else too that's on the road to combat that problem."
A seven year veteran of the Minot Police Department, Bambenek received the 2012 Officer of the Year award on Wednesday.