SLC cops to be drug tested in 2017 | Buzz Blog

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

SLC cops to be drug tested in 2017

Posted By on November 16, 2016, 5:07 PM

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click to enlarge New drug testing measures to take place next year at PD. - STEPHEN DARK
  • Stephen Dark
  • New drug testing measures to take place next year at PD.
Salt Lake City Police Department will introduce random drug testing for its officers come the start of next year.

SLCPD chief Mike Brown informed members of the Community Activist Group at their Nov. 2 2016 session of the initiative in response to a question about why cops weren't routinely submitting to drug tests.

Sgt. Brandon Shearer, a spokesman for the department, said "it's never a bad idea to police yourself." He anticipated that every month or three months a percent of the employees of the department would be randomly tested.

"A lot of other agencies do it," Shearer said. "It's just something we've never done." A barrier to introducing drug testing has been cost, with estimates of a yearly rate of $100,000. The department's patrol car fleet has been long plagued with repairs for lack of money for new vehicles, so drug testing has had to play second fiddle.

Unified Police Department's spokesperson Lt. Justin Hoyal said his agency had drug-tested its officers since it started in 2010. They are tested for illegal narcotics, prescription medication and alcohol. If tested positive, Hoyal said that officers faced "a variety of consequences that could lead to termination."

He speculated that the testing would be for illegal narcotics, rather than prescription drugs, which he thought could potentially cross-over into privacy issues regarding medical information.

A call to the current Salt Lake City Police union president Mike Millard seeking comment was not returned, but SLCPD spokesman Greg Wilking said the union fully supported the move. As long as the tests were random, "I'll pee wherever you need me too," he said.

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