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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 18, 2007 9:38 AM. The previous post in this blog was Storm Center 9000 - on hiatus. The next post in this blog is While you were out. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Juiced up?

After the Bedgood kicking incident and the Humphreys fatal beating, a few readers have been asking: How many members of the city's police and fire bureaus are taking steroids?

It's a serious question, along with these: Does either bureau have a policy about steroid use? Should they?

Comments (39)

Does it matter?
I think these incidents are dreadful, but I also think the cops should be as physically prepared as possible to be to be able to handle the folks who are completely out of control.

You mean themselves?

I also think the cops should be as physically prepared as possible to be to be able to handle the folks who are completely out of control.

Agreed, but the issue here is that the usage of steroids adversely affects one's ability to be mentally prepared to deal with people who are out of control.

I say we DRUG TEST every Portland cop and fireman tomorrow.

Any guesses on what percentage would test positive for weed, cocaine, meth, or steroids?

I guess 20-30%, easy.

Bets?

I say we DRUG TEST every Portland cop and fireman tomorrow.

They arent subject to drug tests already?
One would think that would be a rather strict condition of employment for a job like theirs.

One would think that would be a rather strict condition of employment for a job like theirs.

Someone refresh my memory on Gina Hoesly...

Tri-Met, I believe, requires drug tests.

Jack,
I have personal knowledge of substance abuse, treatment programs, impaired doctors, nurses, lawyers, law enforcement and Fireman/paramedics. My personal opinion is that all those in public trust (most of those listed) should be randomly drug screened besides when suspicion rises. This includes “illegal drugs” and “normally Physician prescribed.” Having a physicians note explaining legal drugs found should clear the matter. On the other hand I could go on ad nauseum on the doctor shopping, drug diversions and other tricks employed by those that appear to be upstanding pillars that are ready to CRASH.
Unions should be the first to support random drug testing to show to everyone its member’s integrity. A drug abuser hides behind the image projected. Drug abuser lie, hide and go to great lengths to keep using.
I consider it a great relief to clear up questions by piddling in a cup. It reflects on my profession and the drug free place I work.
The idea of public safety people abusing steroids is frightening in the least. The most being the mood and emotional side effects of anger, violence and hallucinations.
-d

Tri-Met does require drug tests for employees who operate equipment or machinery. they also have random tests for drivers.

Calling Tri-Met was easy. If anybody here knows for sure about police and fire employees, please enlighten us. If not, I guess I'll call from a phone booth and make up a name.

I'm just sayin'.

It would be interesting if tests were taken immediately after deadly force incidents.

Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer (sp) in May told an East Portland Community Center audience that the police bureau has no drug teting policy, but, bu gosh, it sure sounded like a good idea.

Eight months ago it was a good idea.

Today it is a necessary idea, Rosie.

Stand tall, gal.

You're the boss.

It would not be surprise to find a no drug test provision in the union contract.

Tri-mets testing stopped my bro-in-law from the occasional toke he picked up in 'nam.

Found this on the PPB website in re "Qualifications":

http://www.portlandonline.com/joinportlandpolice/index.cfm?c=38189#pretest

Phase 4: Medical Evaluation
This consists of a comprehensive physical examination which includes drug screening.

After reading this I called the mayor's office, was transferred to the chief's office and was told that no, at the present time there was no drug testing prior to employment. I then mentioned the info on their website (above) and, after apparently double-checking with someone, the woman with whom I spoke reiterated that there was none.

Go figure.

Call them yourselves - mayor's office - 503.823.4120.

It would be interesting if tests were taken immediately after deadly force incidents.

February sweeps are right around the corner. Perhaps we'll get a "12 On Your Side" report.

I know first hand that many police officers use steroids. Usually it is younger street duty guys who are looking for an edge over the "bad guys" However, most of us know the negative consequesnces of steroid use including rage issues. Also note, divorce rates of cops, suicide rates, violent domestic issues, etc. It is the personallity attracted to the position, like the NFL.

My father used to say you'll never find a Mensa card in the wallet of a criminal.

Cops too, come to think of it!

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office implemented a drug testing policy last week. It is based on a reasonable suspicion standard rather than being done across the board on a random basis. The new policy was inspired by incidents with two deputies who were abusing prescription drugs.

It is unclear if being involved in an accident or shooting is in and of itself a cause for reasonable suspicion under the new policy...I suspect not. It's also unclear if they are testing for steroids which really aren't usually part of regular drug screening unless the person is an athlete.

This whole wondering out loud about steroid abuse in the PFD and the PPD sort of seems a little out of left field to me. I recall something about a Multnomah County Corrections employee being terminated for having a "Brotherhood of the Strong" tatoo.

Steroid abuse can certainly cause a user to act out aggressively, but some guys are aggressive by nature in an advesarial situation. Also lifting weights will elevate testosterone levels which can make a person more agressive than normal. I'm just wondering aloud if there's more to this steroid abuse rumor than pure speculation based on recent events.

It would be interesting if tests were taken immediately after deadly force incidents.

Likewise, it would be interesting if the DA's office commenced investigations immediatly after deadly force incidents (i.e. before officers involved are tempted to get the story "straightened out").

Not being able to talk to the officers for three days after a shooting virtually guarantees that the evidence collected from them will be compromised.

Meanwhile, an alert reader points out that alleged steroid use by a Portland police officer has been raised before:

http://www.wweek.com/editorial/3134/6459/

One of the officers involved in that article also appeared in this unflattering story:

http://tinyurl.com/2blrwj

If memory serves correctly, Rosie's hubby was
the Sheriff of Multnomah County when a lot of
BAD PRESS was had for his jail(s) then being
nesting grounds for the "Brotherhood of the
Strong" and he supposedly struggled to root
them out before his term was over.

It may well be that Rosie will have to undertake
similar struggle of her own at PPB to root out a
nest that has taken hold there.

Those who have attempted to study the BOTS
have long noted a linkage between violent rage
that is so out of proportion to incident that has
seemingly provoked it (like the James Chasse and
again latest kicking 'n' stomping incident) and
illegal drug useage...usually their drug of choice
being steroids.

I think we need to dig deep into PPB and seek to
ascertain the full extent of BOTS within their ranks
and then seek effective means to root them out,
or we shall continue to read of more and more of
these tragic incidents till they are cascading upon
us. In my humble opinion, the BOTS holds the key
in getting at the bottom of what is going on at
with all these incidents of abuse of power.

O.K. we have one guy using GHB more than a few years back, and multiple over the top beating incidents. This rampant steroid abuse rumor still sounds like speculation to me. It's a theory that sort of makes sense, but the proof is lacking, and there are other explanations (PPD management is intimidated by the police union) that also make sense. BTW I think most cops are great, and it's a shame that a few bad apples reflect poorly on the majority of hard working brave police officers.

Drug testing is inequitable, thanks to the demonization of cannabis. Unlike other, more dangerous intoxicants (including alcohol), cannabis stays in your system for weeks, rather than hours.

I'd rather see specific tests for drugs known to engender unwanted behavior, rather than some overall tox screen.

Indeed, it looks to me as though Portland safety officers would be well advised to ingest cannabis before going on duty. It might mellow them out; something from which we could all benefit.

I am much more troubled by the "Demonization" of our police officers and firefighters than I am by the RARE examples of excessive force employed by them. These dedicated public servants put themselves into harms way (for a modest income), recognizing that the average crook/tweaker/drunk have far greater civil rights protections than they do.

Firefighters are frequently the first on the scene of a frantic medical call, or traffic accident, and they are accustomed to dealing with hyper-emotional and stressful situations. It is critical that they manage these stresses in order to deliver the service/aid that is required and MAINTAINING A SAFE WORK ENVIRONMENT is an important part of that job.

I have watched the video of McComplainant being restrained for his threatening behavior 5 times, and the handcuffs don't leave the security guard's belt until 15 seconds AFTER the three kicks to the thigh/calf of McComplainant (who was still lying on his side, despite the firefighters/EMT's best efforts to roll him onto his belly).

You really need to review the video with an open mind: if you are trying to restrain somebody (who is resisting), a simple "please stop resisting" isn't always going to suffice.

Drug testing is inequitable, thanks to the demonization of cannabis.

Inequitable to whom? How difficult is it. If a company or government agency has a policy which forbids the use of certain subbstances, has a testing program, you fail the test, you're out.

Oh, it's unfair to dope smokers? Well, then, by all means let's put their "constitutional right to be loaded at work" at the top of the list. Poor victims. Maybe some reparations are in order, too.

I love the image of "first responders" under the influence. That oughta bring those response times down. "Unwanted behavior" includes not knowing how to get the key in the ignition. Also, donut comsumption would skyrocket.

Randy wouldn't be pleased.

Actually the point about steroid use among cops and firefighters is unusually compelling, because one of the SIDE EFFECTS of steroids is RAGE ATTACKS. Which would appear to be what happened with the firefighters in that hotel.

Which, by the way, the thing that really stuck in my mind about the firefighters riot against that guy is that --- what? --- half a dozen emergency personnel were called to this hotel because someone there HAD A BAD HEADACHE? Weird.....

As a matter of preference, I'd much prefer having a "first responder" be under the influence of cannabis than I would that they be under the influence of steroids.

WHICH As a matter of preference, I'd much prefer having a "first responder" be under the influence of cannabis than I would that they be under the influence of steroids.

WHICH THEY ALREADY ARE.

No "first responder" should be under the influence of intoxicants of any kind, but I have no objection to that "first responder" engaging in consumption of alcohol in their off-duty hours. Nor would I object to their engaging in consumption of cannabis in their off-duty hours. It's neither your business, nor mine, that they engage in this behavior, off-duty.

What effect does alcohol have on "first responder" effectiveness 24 hours later? Steroid ingestion has a much different effect that does alcohol, or cannabis.

Now... When testing enters the picture, testing for cannabis can show that you have ingested the substance sometime in the past several weeks. Alcohol, not so much. I don't know for sure, but I don't think a drug screen can tell whether you ingested alcohol yesterday. The ability to screen for it is time-delimited. It is my understanding that such is not the case with cannabis. It is my undestanding that the "harder" drugs, are metabolised much faster and are less likely to show up on drug screens. There are a entire list of substances, legal and illegal, which can affect the performance of "first responders"; which do you propose that we test for, any why?

I think that before we start implementing across-the-board "drug testing", we make it clear what we are testing for and why. I personally think that the video of the fireman kicking a restrained man demands that that specific officer be screened for possible steroid use, as his actions are commensurate with possible usage. It's 'probable cause'. Of course, a breathylizer right there, on the scene, was indicated, too.

Which, it seems, THEY ALREADY ARE.

No "first responder" should be under the influence of intoxicants of any kind, but I have no objection to that "first responder" engaging in consumption of alcohol in their off-duty hours. Nor would I object to their engaging in consumption of cannabis in their off-duty hours. It's neither your business, nor mine, that they engage in this behavior, off-duty.

What effect does alcohol have on "first responder" effectiveness 24 hours later? Steroid ingestion has a much different effect that does alcohol, or cannabis.

Now... When testing enters the picture, testing for cannabis can show that you have ingested the substance sometime in the past several weeks. Alcohol, not so much. I don't know for sure, but I don't think a drug screen can tell whether you ingested alcohol yesterday. The ability to screen for it is time-delimited. It is my understanding that such is not the case with cannabis. It is my undestanding that the "harder" drugs, are metabolised much faster and are less likely to show up on drug screens. There are a entire list of substances, legal and illegal, which can affect the performance of "first responders"; which do you propose that we test for, any why?

I think that before we start implementing across-the-board "drug testing", we make it clear what we are testing for and why. I personally think that the video of the fireman kicking a restrained man demands that that specific officer be screened for possible steroid use, as his actions are commensurate with possible usage. It's 'probable cause'. Of course, a breathylizer right there, on the scene, was indicated, too.

wait a sec, here... i get tested applying for a gas jockey job and the cops in Portland don't have to?

Sorry...I'm having technical problems. Please omit all in prior post after first breathylizer comment.

Cheers!

It seems slightly ironic, to say the least, that tri-met workers operating "machinery" have to be tested, and police officers do not, while they operate firearms, clubs, pepper-spray, taser-guns, automobiles, less than lethal bean-bag rifles, horses, and RRT suburbans.

wait a sec, here... i get tested applying for a gas jockey job and the cops in Portland don't have to?

Yeah, but gas jockeys are dealing with a dangerous substance - cops, unhhhh...

Godfry I understand where you are trying to go with personal privacy and what you ingest out side of work and traces being found and such. What you are totally missing is the well documented effects of abuse. What we are talking about is Abuse. Not the guy who gets a week long dose of steroid from his doctor (A dose that is always slowly decreased) or a social drinker or a buzz in Vegas (stays in Vegas). Abuse is chronic non-medical misuse that has profound, long term MENTAL effects (besides physical), such as violence and rage.
Would you be happy to know that the paramedic or police officer deciding to defibrillate or taser you has no detectable abused substance in his body (at that time), but has spent all off duty hours under the influence of a mind / mood altering substance?
It is well known that we can lock someone away from their substance of choice, but the usage has done a major rewire of the brain. It is the rewire of the brain that is problem. If a cop used steroids on the weekends but was not detected in the middle of the week, he should get a pass on the rage that kills some one? In closing, it’s not the use, but the abuse. And that can only be detected in random sampling.

I hate unions that are unwilling to weed their ranks of incompetent or irrepsonsible members.

I hate unions that worry more about their member's job security than their job performance.

I hate unions that require their members to contribute to a Political Action Committee that is anathema to many union members.

I hate unions that would rather bankrupt a company (or a city), rather than reach any form of compromise that requires them to retreat from previous contract language.

Should I continue?

Please don't.

D man: If a cop used steroids on the weekends but was not detected in the middle of the week, he should get a pass on the rage that kills some one? In closing, it’s not the use, but the abuse. And that can only be detected in random sampling.

For steroids only. He (or she) should not get any kind of "pass" on a rage that kills someone. I've said that, in my mind, such actions as taken by the Fire Department lieutenant in kicking a prone and restrained man, is "probable cause" to start random sampling for drugs which manifest such symptomology...like steroids. Or, alcohol. In my mind, he should have been administered a breathylizer right there at the scene and subsequently tested for drugs with manifest themselves in such violent and hostile manner.

Instead, what is done is that drug screens are done for all kinds of substances, even those which leave identifiable markers weeks after the intoxication has disappeared and, to my knowledge, has never resulted in any kind of rage reaction. (Seriously...Does anyone out there know of a user of solely cannabis that has ever engaged in a "rage response" which intoxicated?)

I hate administration and management that are unwilling to weed their ranks of incompetent or irrepsonsible members. Indeed, they seem to reward them and promote them.

I hate administration and management that worry more about their status and image than their job performance.

I hate administration and management that contribute to a Political Action Committee that is anathema to many employees and customers.

I hate administration and management that would rather bankrupt a company (or a city), rather than reach any form of compromise that requires them to retreat from previous contract language.

I hate administration and management that hire and promote to their friends, family and lovers to responsible positions for which they are unqualified and then encourage those to administer and let out contracts (often 'no bid') to other friends, family and lovers.

I hate administration and management that lies to their customers and employees and takes juicy perquisites at the cost of customers, employees and/or taxpayers.

Should I continue?

It cuts both ways. Administration and management at all too many employers (including public ones) set the tone for their employees, union or not.

I couldn't agree more! But I'm willing to criticize these failings wherever they're found, rather than trumpeting them as "union protections" when the sh!t hits the fan.

Institutionalized bureaucrats are just as dangerous as union hacks. That doesn't make the union hacks less dangerous.


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Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 259
At this date last year: 107
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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