Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Crump has changed duty to Technical Trooper for the KHP Drug and Alcohol Evaluation Unit.
Kansas Highway Patrol Master Trooper Mark Crump of Pratt has recently shifted gears and is now a technical trooper for the KHP Drug and Alcohol Evaluation Unit.
“We are an education teaching unit to other law enforcement officers teaching field sobriety techniques,” said Crump who is one of five technical troopers in Kansas.
This KHP veteran of 24 years, 10 in Gray County and the rest in Pratt County, saw a chance to take on a new challenge and signed up in August to become an instructor for the drug and alcohol evaluation unit that was formerly known at the Breath Alcohol Unit. He said he is learning a lot every day.
Crump has been a field sobriety instructor since 1999 and a Drug Recognition Expert since 2002. Crump said law enforcement is seeing more people impaired on prescription medication and drugs. With impaired drivers involved in so many fatalities, KHP is doing whatever it can to get those drivers off the road, Crump said.
While the new assignment keeps Crump off patrol quite a bit, he still enjoys working with the public and gets back on patrol when he is not teaching.
The unit also teaches field sobriety methods to other law enforcement officers outside the KHP. They teach Advanced Roadside Impairment. They also teach the Kansas Department of Health and Environment how to use the Intoxilizer 90000, a portable breath analyzing device. Training is done at the Kansas Law Enforcement Center.
This new training is much more technical than the previous methods used by BAC.
“It’s such an advancement to the old technology. It’s amazing,” Crump said.
Training goes beyond looking for just alcohol impairment but for other drugs as well. While the training has changed, the ultimate goal has stayed the same.
“Our goal is to reduce and eliminate fatalities and crashes,” Crump said.
A good amount of Crump’s time is spent teaching. He and the other DRE instructors will spend four days a week teaching classes at the Johnson County Regional Training Facility. After a training session, the officers will conduct DUI check lanes or do saturation patrols.
Part of the training includes recognizing clues of an impaired driver. The odor of alcohol, slurred speech, bloodshot and watery eyes are all clues. The training runs the gamut of impaired signals. The standardized field sobriety test is also taught including the walk and turn, standing on one leg and more to test their balance and coordination.
The reason these tests are given is driving is a divided attention task. These tests require the driver to give divided attention to the various tasks and it helps officers determine if the driver is impaired, Crump said.
Troopers with this new training handle more breath tests than an average trooper. Crump has
an Intoxilizer 9000 in his vehicle and can do the complete test in his vehicle. It can be used at DUI check lanes or saturation points.
All of this is done for one purpose, to make driving safer.
“Our goal is removing impaired drivers and reducing accidents,” Crump said. “We don’t want to see anymore lives lost or torn apart because of fatality accidents.”
Besides teaching law enforcement, they also spend time high school and middle school teachers, nurses, resource officers and administrators how to recognized impaired students. The lessons not only teach how to recognize impairment but also how to handle the students as well.
“We give them the tools to deal with students that are drug and alcohol impaired,” Crump said.
The KHP started the school program at Olathe schools. It was so successful, it got national recognition.
“It’s really a good program,” Crump said.
The school program is not designed to make criminal charges against students but to help them change habits and thrive in the class room. It can also impact other students as well. There is flexibility in the program so districts can develop their own policies.
Crump said he enjoys classroom teaching.
He is not working as much with the public but spending more time with law enforcement officers and doing rewarding work with school districts.
“We help them (school districts) deal with potential problems. We help the student get help if they have a chemical depend-ncy before it becomes a life long problem,” Crump said.
Crump joined the KHP in 2004 served in Gray County for 10 years. He was promoted to master trooper in 2003 then transferred to Pratt in 2004. He is married to Bev and their son Kasey is also a KHP trooper.