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Local trooper honored for drug recognition work

Devereaux is one of 100 experts in Iowa

Iowa State Patrol Trooper Scott Devereaux stopped to help a local police officer who had pulled over a driver who was swerving all over the road.

That kind of erratic driving immediately raised suspicion that the man was a drunk driver. A preliminary breath test was administered. But the readout on the test machine showed nothing but zeroes where numbers would usually be to indicate a person’s blood alcohol content.

“He blows all zeroes,” said Devereaux, who is assigned to Iowa State Patrol District 7 in Fort Dodge. “I thought, oh, no, there’s something else going on here.”

The driver turned to walk away. Devereaux stopped him and said further investigation was needed.

“You could just see him melt, because he knew he was caught,” the trooper said.

Devereaux then used his skills as a Drug Recognition Expert to determine that the driver was under the influence of four different categories of illegal substances. The driver went to jail.

That was one of the earlier cases Devereaux handled as a Drug Recognition Expert.

His skill as a Drug Recognition Expert and his leadership in training other officers to become such experts has now been recognized statewide.

Devereaux was named the recipient of the 2021 Kip Hayward Award. That’s an honor that recognizes an officer’s excellence in combating impaired driving.

Not all law enforcement officers are Drug Recognition Experts. There are about 100 such experts in Iowa.

“We are expert in recognizing drug impairment in drivers,” Devereaux said. “What we do is we can actually evaluate somebody and tell you what kind of drug they’re using.”

To do that evaluation, experts use their training and supplies that include a blood pressure cuff, thermometer and pen light.

Devereaux has been in law enforcement for 33 years and has been a state trooper for 15 of those years.

He became interested in the Drug Recognition Expert work after joining the Iowa State Patrol. He said he had a friend who was an expert and said he “was really fascinated by it.”

Devereaux was certified as an expert in 2008. To earn that certification, he completed a two-week course in Iowa and then trained with law enforcement in other states.

In 2011, he became a Drug Recognition Expert instructor.

Then in 2012, he was named to the Iowa Drug Recognition Expert Advisory Board..

He was nominated for the 2021 Kip Hayward Award by Sgt. Paul Batcheller of the Iowa City Police Department.

Devereaux said he was humbled to receive the award. He said he was also surprised.

He recalled thinking, “There’s a lot of good guys in the program — are you really sure you’ve got the right guy?”

He received the award during an event in Des Moines in August.

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