We know it is important for law enforcement personnel to be trained to recognize the signs of drug use in people they might be investigating. And that training may have to include observing people under the influence of different kinds of drugs.
But those kinds of trials should be conducted under the strictest kind of regulations, to protect the volunteers and prevent the misuse of drugs. Some Minnesota law officers are in trouble this week for taking some irresponsible shortcuts.
Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) programs conducted in Minneapolis recently apparently featured volunteers who were picked up off the street, handed a bag of marijuana, and invited to smoke themselves silly, which they were apparently glad to do. After they were put through some tests for the benefit of the law enforcement participants, they were were put back on the street, pot and all.
A Minnesota State Patrol trooper is under suspension and a Hutchinson police officer is under investigation after Occupy Minneapolis activists videotaped them offering drugs to Occupy participants.
The state Department of Public Safety has suspended the DRE program for now. It should only be reinstituted under stricter controls.