Kansas Highway Patrol Leads the way in Impaired Driving Prevention

Guest Authors:  Technical Troopers Carson Nuss and Mark Crump

Technical Trooper Carson Nuss

Technical Trooper Mark Crump

The Kansas Highway Patrol was officially organized in 1937 with the goal to reduce crashes through enforcement of traffic laws. The fleet of 4 motorcycles and 31 patrol cars were used by the first 45 Troopers. From the inception of those early days to today, the goals for the Kansas Highway Patrol have not changed. The Kansas Highway Patrol has grown to over 400 Troopers with a fleet program that ranks amongst the best in the nation. Through the years of growth, the Patrol has stayed true to its roots and continues to find ways to reduce crashes and save lives on our roadways. Understanding what was causing most fatal crashes, the Patrol took aggressive and monumental steps to stop the illegal and dangerous act of driving under the influence by realizing that a specialized unit would be needed to not only combat the DUI problem, but also train all law enforcement across the State how to recognize the impaired driver. With the advancement of testing drivers with breath devices, this specialized unit gained its name – The Breath Alcohol Unit. As training continued and advancements in Drug Recognition Experts (DRE’s) became a larger role, the unit became the Drug and Alcohol Evaluation Unit.

Today the Drug and Alcohol Evaluation Unit consists of two Lieutenants, five Technical Troopers and three civilian personnel.  All of the Troopers in this elite unit are not only DRE’s, but DRE Instructors who also have mobile Intoxilyzer 9000’s in their patrol vehicles to work DUI Saturation Patrols and Checklanes. Lieutenant Matt Payne is the DRE and SFST State coordinator, while Lieutenant Rob Istas oversees day-to-day operations. At least one of the Technical Troopers from this unit is at every SFST class that is taught across the State, as well as leading the SFST two-year refresher rotation that is encouraged for all law enforcement officers. Additionally, this Unit is also responsible for teaching all ARIDE and DRE schools Statewide.

Technical Trooper Mark Crump and Technical Trooper Carson Nuss are two Troopers in this Unit that have additional duties as the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Customer Compliance Division. These two Troopers investigate compliance complaints from vendors, civilians and court staff regarding the 30,000+ IID drivers across the State. Troopers Crump and Nuss have the necessary expertise when it comes to enforcing driver license restriction laws and helping law enforcement during crash investigations where an IID was present. The task of IID education also falls on these two Troopers as well – Education for not only law enforcement, but also offenders. From teaching law enforcement how to ensure an IID is working properly on roadside traffic stops to what current Kansas statute to issue if a violation is found.

These two Troopers also educate offenders at every Victim Impact Panel (VIP) that is facilitated by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. They provide an educational outreach presentation at the end of every VIP which addresses when and where a required IID should be used. It also gives them the opportunity to ask questions about their unique situation and current IID status.

In 2021 alone, these IID presentations have reached nearly 500 offenders. The goal for Troopers Crump and Nuss is to reduce drunk driving through education & enforcement and encourage compliance. The more law enforcement officers who are adequately trained on what to look for when they see an IID restriction on a driver’s license, the more drunk drivers will be removed from the road.  Also, properly educating the offender when it comes to their IID will break the cycle of drinking and driving.  For those offenders who struggle with breaking this cycle and choose to drive without their required IID, their violations will be enforced under the current laws. In 2021, 183 non-compliant IID offenders were investigated and/or contacted by Troopers Crump and Nuss.

Technical Trooper Mark Crump has a total of 32 years of law enforcement experience. 27 of those years have been with Kansas Highway Patrol and the last four years with KHP’s Drug and Alcohol Evaluation Unit.

Technical Trooper Carson Nuss has been in law enforcement for 24 years. 21 of those years have been with the Kansas Highway Patrol and the last 12 years with KHP’s Drug and Alcohol Evaluation Unit. Trooper Nuss is also a past member of the MADD Kansas State Advisory Board and was a presenter at the 2017 MADD Impaired Driving Prevention Training Summit in Washington, D.C.

 

Editor’s Note:  MADD recently released its 2021 Ignition Interlock Report.  It can be found at this link;  https://www.madd.org/press-release/madd-grades-each-state-on-ignition-interlock-laws-pushes-for-lifesaving-improvements