Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin J. Mahoney Discusses Reinstatement of Officers Who Failed Drug Testing
Most businesses require employees to report to work drug-free and to remain drug free while performing their duties. When the employee is a law enforcement officer, not only the municipality, but also citizens have a right to expect the same and uphold the standards of the position entrusted to him.
The Boston Herald reported recently that the Massachusetts’ Civil Service Commission ordered the City of Boston to reinstate officers who tested positive for cocaine. Mayor Thomas M. Menino is determined to fight the reinstatements, arguing that the decision has the potential to affect other cases both past and present. Indeed, since 1999 more than 98 Boston police officers have been terminated from their positions following failed drug tests. Mayor Menino is concerned that the ruling may lead the way to their reinstatement as well.
Validity of Testing Procedures Questioned
In ordering the reinstatement of the officers the commission called into question the validity of the Boston Police Department’s drug testing procedures. As Mayor Menino pointed out, these procedures have been in place since 1999 and have not previously been questioned. The department tests hair samples of new hires and thereafter conducts random urinalysis and Breathalyzer testing. The department adheres to a strict drug-free policy.
The Federal Courts’ Stand on These Procedures
The decision flies in the face of court decisions. For instance, in United States v. Medina, 749 F.Supp. 59 (E.D.N.Y.1990) the court ordered hair testing on an individual to determine whether he violated conditions of probation. The court found as follows: “Extensive scientific writing on hair analysis establishes both its reliability and its acceptance in the field of forensic toxicology when used to determine cocaine use.”
Given that the officers in question were discharged for the presence of cocaine metabolites, the mayor’s determination to fight the decision to reinstate them makes sense, both because cocaine abuse reduces an individual’s judgment and his ability to control his emotions and possession of cocaine is illegal. What is particularly troubling about the reinstatement is that these police officers are required to arrest individuals for possession of cocaine. Many of the more than 98 officers who have now been given a legal foundation upon which to seek reinstatement have had continual and serious drug problems that affected their work. No individual struggling with a drug addiction should be entrusted with handgun.
Contact Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin J. Mahoney
If you are facing criminal charges, you need an experienced, street savvy, and skilled Boston criminal defense attorney to maximize your chances of favorable plea agreement or an acquittal at trial. Contact us by phone at 617-492-0055 to schedule a free in-office consultation.
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