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Police Slam Drug Test, Forced Exams On Officers “Ludicrous”

Forcing high-risk police officers to urinate into a cup is a ludicrous violation of human rights, says the head of Calgary’s cop association. Sgt. Al Koenig says a recommendation that Toronto police officers be forced to undergo drug testing before being promoted or assigned to high-risk units like the drug squad is ridiculous and would never fly in Calgary.

“Police officers have the same rights as every other citizen in Canada,” he said.

“To say they have to undergo mandatory drug testing when they show up at work just flies in the face of logic.”

The mandatory drug test is one of 32 recommendations proposed last week by retired Ontario Supreme Court Judge, George Ferguson, following a two-year investigation into curbing misconduct in Toronto’s police force.

“Our job is tough enough trying to impose the laws that we’ve got, so to impose mandatory drug testing would make it easier to test our officers than it would for our officers to charge somebody with impaired driving,” said Koenig.

“That just seems ludicrous to me.”

New York City cops are tested for drugs, and Ferguson said the system appeared to be effective and fair.

Toronto police chief Julian Fantino said implementing the recommendations within his force as soon as possible—some are already in place—is a priority, but there will obviously be some roadblocks, from the union and a lack of money.

Fantino ordered Ferguson’s investigation at the same time he initiated an RCMP probe into allegations drug squad officers stole cash and drugs from dealers.

Six officers were charged criminally last month.

The force also hopes the report will serve to help the fight against perceived or actual corruption in the police service and to restore public confidence.

Ferguson’s report calls for a complete overhaul of the way confidential informants are treated, basing the new technique on a system in place in England.

The plan would prevent officers from “entering into unhealthy relationships with information sources,” he said.

Among other advice from Ferguson is that the police should inform the Crown, when requested, if an officer who is testifying in a court case is in trouble.

Posted by A. Shapiro
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