Security forces Airmen train to recognize, prevent driving while intoxicated

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brittany Kenney
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 28th Security Forces Squadron participated in a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing course at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, 27-29 March, 2024.

Eight students, to include security forces Airmen and a civilian police officer, participated in this mandatory three-day course, beginning with classroom instruction on day one, practice exercises on day two, and pass/fail testing on day three.

“We have the students in this course go through training from step one, when the vehicle is in motion, until making an arrest,” said John Kost, a security specialist with the 28th SFS. “We teach them how to do the three standard field sobriety tests and to recognize the indicators for when someone is intoxicated.”

The course began with a pre-test to assess the students’ knowledge regarding the signs of intoxication and how to properly test for it while on duty, followed by an in-depth presentation to teach them information they’d need to know when assessing a potential DWI situation.

Students then put their instruction to practice with each other by going through the field sobriety test in a classroom setting, followed by a more hands-on approach with volunteers from around the base who consumed alcohol in a controlled environment, allowing the students to run tests as they progressed into various stages of intoxication up to the legal limit.

For Senior Airman Samuel Porter, 28th SFS patrolman, the course was a refresher, as he has been certified in the past but needed to test again to stay current with the necessary skills, an experience he still finds valuable.

“We are the first thing people see when they come onto the installation,” said Porter. “It’s our responsibility to protect people here, so being able to detect DWI is a priority.”

After a day of practice, students were tested on what they learned with more volunteers, going through all the steps to become certified. This course is offered to new SFS members every eight to nine months, with recertification required every three years.

“We want the students and the volunteers to take this experience back to their units,” said Kost. “If you do drive while intoxicated, you could hurt or kill someone. We just want to keep those people off the streets.”