Cops are happy to enforce the rules, but they’re also under the impression that rules don’t apply to them. You can’t drink and drive. You can’t do drugs at work. So why are police officers fighting against being drug and alcohol tested if they have nothing to hide?
Imagine being pulled over under suspicion of driving while under the influence. When the police officer asks you to submit to a urine test, you decline, stating that is “an illegal search and seizure under the Constitution.” What do you suppose will happen next?
Just this week, Pittsburgh police officers have lodged a civil rights grievance against the city, claiming just that. Police officers have been ordered to undergo drug and alcohol testing, but they don't want to, and they claim these tests are in violation of their contract.
The police union tells local Pittsburgh Channel 11 that the testing amounts to “an illegal search and seizure that is not only in violation of the contract, but the Constitution as well.”
“I don't know why the city suddenly changed the policy on this, and it's our position that this is an illegal search and seizure,” said Bryan Campbell, an attorney representing the union.
According to the contract, tests are only allowed in three circumstances:
1. If an officer is suspected of being under the influence while on the job,
2. If an officer fires a weapon,
3. If an officer is involved in a vehicle crash.
Pittsburgh’s Channel 11 reports that the “civil rights grievance” was filed after an officer who was involved in a chase and crash last week and an additional officer, reportedly not directly involved in the crash, were ordered to submit to drug and alcohol testing.
Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay contends that the contract allows him to test officers involved in pursuits, regardless of whether they are directly involved in a crash or not.
“We are going to interpret that policy as I believe it was intended and protect the officers, as well as the community, by verifying that the officer wasn't impaired,” McLay said.
Currently, the police union's complaint has been sent for review to Pittsburgh’s law department, which could force the police department to stop testing. If the police chief does continue the with drug and alcohol tests, the complaint will go to arbitration.
I bet the same group of officers fighting against the drug and alcohol tests would be the first to say to a citizen, “Why wouldn't you take a drug test if you don’t do drugs? What are you hiding?”