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Published: Wednesday, 10/1/2003

Police pact may call for some drug tests


Random drug testing would be adopted for Toledo police command officers under a labor contract recommended yesterday by a state-appointed arbiter.

If adopted by City Council and the 140-member Toledo Police Command Officers' Association, the 42-page report would end an impasse over replacing the previous contract, which expired Dec. 31, 2002.

Mayor Jack Ford's staff briefed council on the report yesterday. Jay Black, Jr., the city's chief operating officer, said the administration has not decided whether to recommend approval of the agreement.

Terry Stewart, president of the TPCOA, which represents sergeants, lieutenants, and captains, yesterday declined comment until after the report is presented to the union membership tomorrow and Friday.

The drug-testing procedure would be the first negotiated with any city bargaining unit.

Arbiter Barry Brown, of East Lansing, Mich., noted that command officers didn't object to random drug testing, and hadn't manifested a drug problem. He wrote that having the policy in place with one union would give the city an advantage in bargaining with other city unions, some of whom have objected to random drug testing.

According to the report, Cincinnati, Akron, Cleveland, Dayton, and Columbus have random drug testing for police officers now.

Under the proposal, command officers could be tested more than once a year. They also could be tested for previous drug use after an accident involving at least $200 damage or a shooting incident.

Currently, all officers can be tested where there is reasonable suspicion of drug use, or as a condition of being promoted. Officers assigned to property management, special enforcement, vice metro, or property recovery can be tested once annually.

The proposed settlement also would:

w Allow command officers to move out of Toledo after 10 years of service, the same provision negotiated by some other units.

w Freeze wages the first 18 months of the contract, with a 2-percent wage increase and a 1/2-percent pension payment in July, 2004, and another 2-percent increase and a 3/4-percent pension payment in July, 2005.

Council and the command officers' union each have 14 days to act on the recommendation.

The city has settled contracts with six other bargaining units and is still negotiating with Teamsters Local 20, which represents 250 employees in solid waste and water reclamation.

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