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NBK Police get sobriety training

Brandon Pauley, center, directs William McCloud to follow his hand with his eyes during DUI drills while Tara Kase, left, and Matt Barksdale, right, take down notes. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Brandon Pauley, center, directs William McCloud to follow his hand with his eyes during DUI drills while Tara Kase, left, and Matt Barksdale, right, take down notes.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Officers of the Naval Base Kitsap Police force received crucial training this week from the Washington State Patrol (WSP) on how to identify alcohol-impaired drivers.

Trooper Cory Mancuso took 19 officers from the base and put them through a course on how to properly conduct standardized field sobriety tests (SFST).

The training will certify the officers to perform the tests on the road and make proper decisions on when a driver has had too much to drink.

“It gives them some type of confidence. They don’t see this everyday...so it familiarizes them. It keeps everybody safe,” said Brian Drewry of Naval Base Kitsap Police.

The training received Wednesday was called a wet lab. Five subjects drank varying amounts of alcohol and were administered breathalyzer tests by Mancuso. The intoxicated participants came from the base’s Legal Service Office and the submarine USS Columbus. Drewry said one stipulation of the training held that the subjects could not be from the police force.

The subjects stepped into the next room to receive the three SFST tests: a horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk-and-turn and one-leg stand.

The nystagmus test is perhaps the most telling.

“HSG is a very reliable test,” said Trooper Brian George, public information officer for WSP. “It’s the first test demonstrated. It detects a person’s uncontrolled reaction to alcohol.”

Mancuso said of the five participants, two had a blood alcohol content very close to the legal limit that would be particularly challenging to evaluate.

“Anyone can identify the guy at double the legal limit who’s puking out the car door,” he said. “We have a couple on the bubble. We want them to be able to make the decision based on the tests on the road.”

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