Inside the Academy: Sobriety Testing - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Inside the Academy: Sobriety Testing

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Four new troopers have just been sent out west to patrol parts of oil country, and a big part of their job will soon be busting impaired drivers.

"North Dakota does have a lot of drinking, quite a lot of driving that goes by."

Before joining the North Dakota Highway Patrol, these recruits learn and practice giving field sobriety tests.

"We're learning how they work, how to do them, why they work and why they're important." says recruit, Brian Larson.

They're important because they can stop someone from hurting someone else on the road.

Brian Larson is around halfway done with his training at the Academy, and he says drunk driving is his biggest pet peeve.

"You always hear of these people kill themselves in accidents, or get in accidents, it's something can be prevented, and it's something that a lot of people don't take it seriously and they should, something we need to change." says Larson.

To help turn things around, all of the recruits also play the role of the driver who is under the influence, giving a new perspective to the tests.

"They can be a little tricky to do especially when you're nervous like that, you definitely don't want to be on the road, having to do those for real." says Larson.

He says the officer is looking for more than meets the eye.

Is there a smell of alcohol?

Can the subject follow directions, and do their eyes show a dead giveaway?

"You want to make sure they eyes are together, they don't have any of that jerking... " says Larson.

Failing these tests could lead to a serious offense, so they're something the recruits are really focused on before starting their patrol.

"If you pull someone over you see that they're not safe to drive home, or you're not sure and they get into an accident, that's a huge problem, so that's what they're trying to prevent." says Larson.

Four recruits we've been following are now on patrol out west.

The rest of the class will graduate in June.

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