Six people who say they were given drugs as part of the now-suspended Drug Recognition Evaluators Program that taught police
how to recognize signs of drug use have are suing the state of Minnesota, the State Patrol, and several other law enforcement
agencies, including the Hutchinson Police Department and three of its officers; Mark Hanneman, Karl Willers, and Barb Mathwig.
The suit, filed Friday in Federal District Court in Minneapolis, alleges “The DRE Program was essentially an unethical clinical trial
whereby armed police officers provided vulnerable members of the public with substantial quantities of marijuana (presumably obtained from police evidence in other cases), encouraged them to get high, observed them, and then abandoned them while they were still high.
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the Minnesota State Patrol DEC (drug evaluation and classification) School
was implemented in 1991. There are 197 DRE officers in Minnesota representing 92 agencies. Currently 47 states, the District of
Columbia, and Canada participate in the DEC program.
The program trains officers how to detect and remove impaired drivers from the road.
An investigation was launched last spring after some Occupy Minneapolis activists accused police of offering them marijuana and
incentives to participate.
The investigation found there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges.
The lawsuit seeks to keep the state and the State Patrol from running the program in the future, as well as damages in excess of
The program remains suspended pending a review by the Department of Public Safety.