MERRILL - Not all that long ago, just two officers in the Northwoods specialized in an important drug program.
However, one Merrill officer wanted to change that.
"I use the skills every single day," said Merrill Officer Tyler Tesch.
October marks the sixth anniversary of Tesch finishing his drug recognition expert course.
"There are only about 6,000 officers nationwide who are drug recognition experts," said Tesch.
Tesch took two months to complete the course with a lot of hard work and studying.
"It's the most academically difficult but the most rewarding course that you'll ever take," said Tesch.
Tesch now has the ability to tell what drug a person is using. There are a lot he has to deal with.
"[There are even] magic mushrooms and nutmeg," said Tesch with a laugh.
Back in 2011, Tesch and a Wausau Highway Patrol Officer were the only officers certified as DREs in central and northern Wisconsin.
"I'm one of the originals, I guess. I couldn't quantify how many other instances my skills have come into play," Tesch said.
But after Tesch finished the course, he wanted to help certify and teach other officers in Wisconsin.
"To help people in their life make good decisions and be a mentor. That's the most rewarding to me," said Tesch warmly.
Now, after six years of Tesch educating other officers and departments, the Northwoods has six other DRE officers.