Arlington Police Subject To Random Drug Tests By October
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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) - All sworn employees of the Arlington Police Department will be subject to random drug testing as part of a policy change following a steroid scandal involving Arlington Police officers.
The new policy will likely be implemented when the new fiscal year begins October 1. Previously, only new hires, those getting promoted and officers working in security sensitive police units would be drug tested.
”Now the random drug testing policy will apply to all sworn employees so throughout the year there will be random tests applied to employees throughout the department,” said Tiara Richard, media relations coordinator for the Arlington Police Department.
The department, the city and the Arlington Police Association worked together for months to figure out how to expand the current policy, according to Becki Brandenburg, interim President of the Arlington Police Association.
Last week, Arlington City Council approved a $60,000 budget for the new testing to ensue.
The new policy will not only test for certain drugs but will now also test for steroids, which carries a higher cost than regular drug tests.
“If it costs $20,000, $60,000 or $100,000, if it helps our police and fire to do a better job and continue to do what they are supposed to do then it’s worth it,” said Mayor Robert Cluck.
The policy change was announced in June, after a steroid scandal involving three Arlington police officers.
A 17 year veteran of the department, Thomas Kantzos, was arrested in June accused of buying and distributing steroids to fellow officers, while on the clock using city computers and equipment.
He was indicted in July in federal court.
Kanztos’ colleague, David Vo, who had also been arrested in connection with the investigation, committed suicide.
A third officer, who was questioned but not charged, left the department.
“The purpose and the goal of this is to put some policies in place that will prevent this from happening again in the future,” Richard said.
The Arlington City council will meet Tuesday to approve next years budget. More changes to the policy could take place over the next few months, according to Brandenburg.
Officers for whom there “reasonable suspicion” could be drug tested as part of an addendum to the latest policy change, Brandenburg said. The timeline of when that will be implemented is unclear.
A third party company will randomly generate names to be tested. The Chief will likely appoint an administrator to notify officers, Brandenburg said.
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