East St. Louis Workers Tested For Illegal Drugs

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EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (KTVI)-- East St. Louis City should know as early as Friday if any employees are using illegal drugs.  Workers were given unannounced urine tests beginning last week.

The recent arrest of a city police detective on cocaine charges and the Texas arrest of an East St. Louis firefighter on marijuana possession charges prompted the city to start the testing program.

"We haven't done it since 2008," said East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks Wednesday.   "We owe the citizens the understanding that when we see a police officer out there that person is clear headed."   Parks admitted the method is not foolproof.  Someone could be just trafficking in drugs and not using any, he noted.

The firefighters union contract limits drug testing to a "reasonable suspicion" circumstance.  But all other city workers were tested.  "Some of the elected officials voluntarily were tested," Parks said.

Employees found to be using illegal drugs will be disciplined.  Parks said the kind of discipline will vary depending upon union contracts and rules for departments.

Betsey.Bruce@tvstl.com
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