The Herald Bulletin

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Editorials

June 18, 2014

Editorial: Random drug testing is fair policy

Many times, a worker’s tasks may not be related to whether that person uses drugs or alcohol. Some people can function in that setting, or so some people might think.

If you believe that a worker can function despite drug and alcohol use, then you may not favor random drug testing as a condition of employment. But illegal drug use leads to absenteeism and decreased productivity, among other negative workplace factors.

The use of random drug tests in the private sector can be a hot debate when it comes to discussions of invasion of privacy though employers often have the law on their side.

But in the public-funded sector, most Hoosiers expect anyone who works in a government job or in law enforcement to be clean of drug use.

That’s why it’s good to see the Edgewood Town Council adopt a new drug policy for its employees.

Any town worker who is suspected of drinking will be subject to a breathalyzer test. If the test shows a blood alcohol content of 0.04 or more, the employee will be subject to termination.

The policy also establishes a “zero tolerance” approach to any employee caught abusing drugs while on duty.

The policy, town officials said, was not in response to the current case involving officer J.D. Foutch who was off-duty on April 6 when his vehicle crashed into the rear of another, killing a man whose wife gave birth to their daughter later that day. Foutch reportedly had drugs in his system, according to police reports.

This new policy applies to on-duty employees only.

It is hard to say whether that policy might have prevented the April accident. But it is safe to say that a policy in force may go a long way in preventing future tragedies. Such policies are a necessary safeguard for public employees — police, town hall workers and firefighters among others — who are entrusted in performing their taxpayer-funded duties. Enforcing these policies is a fair request by taxpayers.

Random drug testing of public employees should be a policy in every municipality. Particularly so when those public servants are members of the law enforcement community. Those who are hired to protect us should never put the rest of us in danger.

To read a recent Herald Bulletin news article about the Edgewood Town Council's policy, visit heraldbulletin.com and search for "Edgewood."

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