Reporting Mireya Villarreal
ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) – The Arlington Police Department has vowed to enhance its drug testing policy after three officers were federally investigated. Agents believe the officers were involved in a steroids ring. One is even accused of warning a local drug dealer about on-going investigations.
Thomas Kantzos was fired from the Arlington Police Department just one day after he was federally charged. Officer Craig Hermans is on paid suspension. And David Vo killed himself after being arrested for his involvement in the department’s steroid scandal.
“Were there things we could have seen? Were there things we could have done? The answer is, I don’t know,” Chief Will Johnson said back in June.
But none of these officers was ever drug tested while working for Arlington PD. Arlington’s current drug testing policy only affects police officers who are undercover agents in specialized units like narcotics. On average, that’s between 32 and 40 officers each year. And the drug test doesn’t include steroids; a weakness the department recognizes.
“We will seize this opportunity to strengthen this process in an effort to reduce the likelihood that this can occur in the future,” Chief Johnson added.
The Arlington Police Department employs more than 640 sworn officers. CBS 11 obtained information from the city which shows most of them have never been subjected to a drug test over the past few years.
In 2010, the city tested eight officers. The next year, it was increased to ten tests. In 2012, they were back down to eight. And this year, they’ve only tested four officers. When you break down the numbers that means less than 2% of the force is ever tested.
Just a few days after Thomas Kantzos was federally charged for allegedly using department computers to look up confidential information for a drug dealer, Arlington’s Police Chief spoke out about the department’s drug testing policy.
“By expanding the program to all employees, our effort is to make sure there are no gaps in the random drug testing program,” he said.
The I-Team took a look at other police departments in the Metroplex and found some departments already have strong testing policy.
In Fort Worth, every police officer is subject to random drug testing. Dallas PD does the same thing, randomly testing officers from any unit. In fact, the officers assigned to specialized units in Dallas, like gangs or narcotics, are actually subjected to additional testing throughout the year.
Late last week, Thomas Kantzos pleaded not guilty. His trial date has been set for September 9, 2013. Arlington’s legal department tells us they are still working to beef up their testing policy, but it could take a while getting through the union and city leaders.
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