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    Monday, June 18, 2018-10:03:59A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Police Sgt. Norris Kwon: DPS drug-recognition expert

POLICE Sgt. Norris Kwon of the CNMI Highway Patrol is now a drug-recognition expert skilled in detecting and identifying persons under the influence of drugs and in identifying the category or categories of drugs causing the impairment.

In April 2018, Kwon successfully completed all phases of the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program’s training requirements for certification as established by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Norris KwonNorris Kwon

Kwon said in the drug recognition training he learned about the seven categories of legal and illegal drugs. 

“We learned how do a 12-step process when we evaluate an individual that we suspect to be under the influence of drugs based on clinical symptoms that can impair driving,” Kwon said.

 He added that he has stopping motorists driving under the influence of marijuana, methamphetamine and prescription pills.

 “When we stop somebody, we try to find marijuana or meth in their possession. We also look for prescription-drug containers,” he said.

 “Before I received  training, I would look at a pill and I would think, ‘maybe it’s just medicine.’ I didn’t know; I was not sure. So I would  give it back to the person. But we did confiscate marijuana and meth because we knew what those were. Now we also know that there are prescription pills that are actually drugs that can impair your ability to drive a vehicle safely,” Kwon said.

He said the DPS Highway Patrol is anticipating more  drug-related stops.  “Especially if they pass the marijuana-legalization bill — we anticipate more instances of marijuana-related crashes and marijuana-related impaired driving.”