Police Chief Bernard Parks plans to propose random drug testing for all LAPD officers to demonstrate the department's commitment to upholding the law, officials said.
The announcement sparked questions by leaders of the Police Protective League, who noted a similar program was abandoned six years ago because it was not believed to be cost-effective.Police union President Dave Hep-burn said the league is open to negotiations and might support the testing if guidelines are developed to make sure it is fair.
"We're certainly not opposed to drug testing, depending on the circumstances and how it is conducted," Hepburn said, adding he would not want it to be used "for harassment purposes."
Parks has drafted a proposal to be submitted soon to the police union for negotiations as part of a proactive effort, not in response to any specific concern, said Lt. Tony Alba.
"To the best of his knowledge, we don't have a drug problem," Alba said. "He wants to reinstate it because it's the right thing to do."
Cmdr. John Moran, who has been involved in the issue as commanding officer of the Personnel Group, said it makes sense for the officers who enforce drug laws to demonstrate that they are obeying those laws.
"(Parks) thinks that this is a professional law enforcement agency, and it should be drug-free per our policy," Moran said. "It will assure the public that we are fulfilling that pledge."
The LAPD experimented with a drug-testing program for 18 months before abandoning it in 1992 as too costly for the results. That program provided additional vacation time to senior officers who agreed to participate.