Becoming the Badge: Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests (kfox)

This week, El Paso police recruits are practicing for one of the biggest threats to public safety on our roadways, drunk drivers.

Last year, almost 1,500 people were killed by a drunk driver in Texas.

“I've seen the worst instances of driving while intoxicated,” said instructor Officer Frank Torres.

Officers are the first line of defense to stop an impaired driver on the road.

This week, recruits are learning how to administer the standard field sobriety tests or SFST.

Recruits soon learn it’s not as simple as it appears to an outsider.

In order to provide a hands-on experience, recruits' friends and family members volunteer for the tests.

Their drinks are carefully measured and documented so the academy staff knows what their blood alcohol content (BAC) is.

Then the recruits put them through the field sobriety tests.

The recruits have to be precise in the steps and how they administer the tests.

“Just make sure you're saying all the right things in the right way, explaining it right,” said recruit Damian George. “On top of that, they're intoxicated, so you’re responsible for their safety.”

At the end of the night, recruits learned the BAC of the people they tested. Some were below 0.08 -- the legal limit.

“We cannot and we will not make haphazard decisions about taking away somebody's liberty,” said Officer Mike Short.

“That's our public out there that's depending on us to do the right thing,” he said.

Even taking one drunk driver off the road can change the course of a life.

“We are here to keep people safe and to keep people from dying,” said recruit Sergio Soto.

Next week on Becoming the Badge, recruits clash with each other as they try to stay in the fight.

Plus, protecting the roadways becomes personal for the class.

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