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Monday, April 12, 2010

Drug testing needed for Portland police

Now that we've learned that the head of the Portland police union himself has road rage problems, to go along with those of one of the Chasse-killer cops that he so loudly covers for, isn't it time that the city start demanding that its uniformed officers submit to random drug testing? I mean, what else better explains the needless violence (physical and verbal) that some members of the city's police force are prone to dish out, than the influence of stimulants or anabolic steroids?

Isn't there a police contract being negotiated, or about to be negotiated, these days? Let's add a random drug testing program into that package. So many people in so many professions are subjected to these tests -- shouldn't we ask the same of people to whom we issue weapons and a license to kill? When the kid who parks cars at the auto dealer accidentally dinged up my car a few years back, the first thing that happened was a drug test for him. Athletes both professional and amateur have to do it, wine salesmen have to do it, bus drivers have to do it -- why not Portland police? Especially since some of them who've lashed out at people unnecessarily look and act like they're on 'roids. If it means we have to add an extra $1,000 a year onto their pensions to get them to go along with it, so be it -- particularly since the city will probably wipe out that raise in a bankruptcy at some point, anyway.

I wish this were a frivolous suggestion, but it isn't. It needs to be done yesterday.

Comments (27)

Sauce for the goose. I'd also recommend random testing for all City of Portland employees, from the Mayor on down. If nothing else, you'll see a lot of deadwood suddenly leaving to "spend more time with my family."

(Back in the late Eighties, I was working for Texas Instruments, and TI drank a lot of the "drug testing will cure all of our ills" Kool-Aid at that time. We got a lot of tongue-wagging from upper management about how this was necessary, and the occasional yammering from blue-noses in the company about how they thought we should be testing for anyone using alcohol, too. The random testing program started with great fanfare, only they started by testing upper management, and the whole program was very carefully quashed over the next year. It turns out that it was kinda hypocritical for TI to fire grunts out on the fabrication floor who might have had a joint on the weekend when far too many samples of senior manager urine were practically pure cocaine.)

Back in the 80's Michael Schrunk was a big proponent of mandatory drug testing in the work place. It enabled people to get help. It was good for you.

Actually, I take back my previous statement. I can't advocate drug tests. Psychological tests to weed out the cops who were bullied as kids and become police to get even, sure, but drug tests just catch one of the symptoms. I've run into small-town Oklahoma cops with fewer anger issues than Portland cops, and if it comes down to being so disliked in high school that even the Trekkies and "Magic: The Gathering" geeks wouldn't sit next to them at lunch, then maybe there's a reason.

I'm serious, have you pulled a ride-a-long with PPD in recent years? Things have changed and drastically. The violent mental and suicide seeker calls are almost constant.

I'm for it. And random in terms of timing, but mandatory in the sense of every cop g from Rosie to the rookie gets tested at least once every two months.

Psych testing to weed out potential problems is an additional possible long range approach, but it doesn't solve the here and now issues with folks already carrying guns and badges.

Even as bad as the news coming off the Bureau Beat has been, I'm still not a fan of mandatory drug testing because of the 4th and 5th Amendment issues.

Being forced to give up evidence against yourself by a government institution is exactly what those amendments were ratified for.

Might want to test for steroids first. The body building culture is big with law enforcements

I don't understand why we're talking about random testing, with all of the issues that entails. Right now, as far as we know, there isn't testing following an incident or even several incidents. We've defined probable cause for drug testing for other professions, why not for police officers?

I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one BoJack. I believe drug-screening, and random drug-testing, violate the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendment. I must say I'm quite surprised at your prudishness here. As stated you've an unassailable position here, of course. But that does not make it right.

Look cops shouldn't be able to use weapons in the first place. They're simply not supposed to be dangerous people. For Pete's sake man they're the folks we call to protect us from dangerous people. Their ability to kill people with impunity is the problem not any drug they may, or may not, be on. How quick you are to throw our civil rights under the bus to accomplish your aim of a sober police department. Nothing is worth that price.

You've painted a two wrongs make a right picture here. I agree that under the circumstances it's arguably more important to drug-screen, and random-test, the fuzz than it is a McDonalds manager. Apropos of nothing. This doesn't prove anything and it's hardly supportive of your position.

Plus too I'm not sure I like the punitive tone here. These are grown adults whether you choose to accept that or not. Your position that we should be screening, and performing randoms, fairly smacks of pay-back. Since when, and I'm railing against decades of being violated, personally, in such a manner, since when do we use the law as a means of settling petty, personal, dislikes, and distastes, for what our neighbor is doing?

Shame on you Mr. Bogdanski. I'm apoplectic over your response here so please forgive me if I'm careening all over the place trying to put forth a position. I also don't mean to be personally insulting. I have exceedingly strong feelings about drug testing of this type and have suffered a tremendous amount because of these policies.

We're not supposed to use our military against our own civilian population remember? Only we do don't we? Both directly, in the form of just waiting until the day they're out, and indirectly, what the hell is SERT and SWAT if not military? The whole damn system got-loose centuries ago. It is due to this provision, in my opinion, that we as citizens don't have a more rigorous dialog about this.

Policemen today should be just any schlep with a whistle and a radio. Period. That job should be a form of social-welfare, hell I'd even get behind the idea of it being compulsory at some point. Cops should be us, our friends, and our neighbors. Those people should then be positioned to respond just like patrolman do now. There's already a policy of calling in reinforcements so continuing that policy should work just fine. If a problem arises that a bunch of people like this can't handle then call in the effing military, just like we do now.

People like me, with my beliefs, often forget that one of the primary roles a lawman plays in this society is that of State's Evidence. I think an average cop has no biz in this capacity. We should have special professionals whom play this role. Peoples whose sole responsibility it is to secure evidence and to evaluate, and respond, to situations from the perspective of a court-officer.

Wow, this really is a sensitive topic for me. Sorry to be unusually incoherent.

I'm frankly surprised to learn there is no drug testing for police, even after a shooting. WTF??? The constitutional arguments against it are irrelevant because no one is compelled to be a police officer. I don't agree with random drug testing in the vast majority of cases where it now applies, but it certainly should be required of anyone who uses a gun or other inherently lethal machinery in the course of their work. If you object, that is your Constitutional Right. Find another job.

I'm with Semi-cynic and suprised they don't do drug screening on officers. If I stub my toe at work the first thing they do is send me off for a whiz quiz. Public saftey employees should be held to a higher standard then most private sector employees.

This I agree with. Also, lets have random test for the council right after any votes. Want to make sure they are not under the influence when making decisions that effect the entire city.

Vance, I believe police officers are sworn to uphold the law as part of their job duties. Therefore, there should not be any issue with testing them to make sure they are upholding the law when it comes to putting unlawful substances in their bodies.

Abe: I'm serious, have you pulled a ride-a-long with PPD in recent years? Things have changed and drastically. The violent mental and suicide seeker calls are almost constant.

And this is pertinent because?

Being forced to give up evidence against yourself by a government institution is exactly what those amendments were ratified for.

I've often been an advocate of privacy issues in this blog. But this is a contractual matter between employer and employee. No one is forced to submit to the test; if you don't want to take it, you can simply leave.

Trust but verify.

PoPo is one of the last group of people that routinely handle drugs or put others in danger because of job duties, that are not screened or randomly tested for drugs.

This is a travesty.

TTR is also right, it is just another tool to catch those impaired. (And start with Rosie and work down)

Abe is right, we are very concerned about the officers that are violently mental and suicidal, thats the whole point of this post, to get them the help they need.

Vance is also right, you are incoherent and I would suggest some quiet time.

To respond to Texas' first post, I believe all City employees are drug-tested. Probably not the elected officials, but certainly those in City Hall offices and in bureaus.

Except, surprisingly the bureau that gets to carry guns. They're public employees like anyone at the Water Bureau or PBOT, and they should be held to the same (if not a higher) standard as everyone else.

Let's stop the privilege and get this police force under control. Drug testing is an easy first step.

As to the constitutionality of it, that's absurd. You apply for a job, and you should deal with the requirements of that job or find yourself a different profession. In a career that requires precision, skill and mental acuity at all times, drug testing is a no-brainer.

Back when I was at SOC in the early seventies one of my buddies was in the law enforcement program. His sole career aim was to have an opportunity to beat the crap out of somebody.

I'm for the steroid testing. Pumping iron and beefing up seems to go hand in hand with the cop culture. No doubt in my mind that steroids are part of that culture as well.

Look cops shouldn't be able to use weapons in the first place. They're simply not supposed to be dangerous people. For Pete's sake man they're the folks we call to protect us from dangerous people.

And how would you expect them to do that if the "dangerous people" are more armed than the police?

Might want to test for steroids first. The body building culture is big with law enforcements

Hmm, cant be too big. These guys couldnt even wrestle down a 12-yr-old.

While we're talking about civilian control of the state security forces, perhaps we could get some attention to the lifeblood of the out of control police agency, the civil forfeiture laws that make all of us prey to the predators in blue:

I think that any officer should be allowed to complete their tasks without a firearm without having a required drug test.

BUT...Once a firearm is issued an officer, they must first complete a drug test and every time they discharge the weapon in the line of duty.

Until that time, each officer will be issued one bullet for their service revolver and be required to carry that buttoned in their uniform shirt pocket.

It should be known as the "Fife Rule".

The cops drink like you wouldn't believe.

Good point. Some police departments already do this (police departments in Australia drug test for example). Interesting too that in the original article (over at ABC News) the penalty if you test positive "has not been determined."

I think the drug testing is a good idea. After all if a cop is using drugs they are clearly thinking they are above the law...regardless of what you think about drug use whether it should be legal etc. that's not a mindset I prefer in my law enforcement officers.

This is a fair suggestion, I think. Law enforcement, as a position of public trust, should be subjected to this sort of scrutiny as a matter of course. I'd argue the same for fire, ambulance, doctors, nurses, lawyers, judges, city officials, etc. Seems like the only reason to object would be fear of what will be discovered; once this sort of thing was phased in, however, and the culture is in place that it's normal and to-be-expected, hopefully a lot of the community's fears would be alleviated to some degree.

As long as it is our tax money paying their salaries, I believe we have a right to demand to know what our money is buying, ie, are the police using illegal subtances. Drug testing is a great idea!

It is really a good idea. Interesting point is that in the original article (over at ABC News) the penalty if you test positive "has not been determined. In my opinion the drug testing is a good idea. After all if a cop is using drugs they are clearly thinking they are above the law...regardless of what you think about drug use whether it should be legal etc.

Taser Realities
Research on the use of taser's (Conductive Energy Device CED) in various
communities that have modified the deployment protocols after performance audits.

Sub-page >

Steroids and Tasers: Police Are Unaccountable By Contract

Reference material is in the "Attachments" section near the bottom of the page with "censored" reports for download. Work is in progress - TR

Try the Google search terms;
"steroid testing of police"


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