Friday, September 22, 2017

New Legislation Requires Post Shooting Drug Testing of Police Officer

In the last regular session of the Illinois legislature, among other measures designed to enhance citizen safety, an amendment was adopted to the existing Police and Community Relations Improvement Act requiring police officers to undergo drug testing after officer involved shootings. The new legislation, which flew under the radar of most, is currently effective and reads as follows:

As the statute states, every department must develop a written policy. This may be as simple as just expanding current alcohol and drug testing policies to include post shooting situations or a closer look at implementing the statute as the first law in Illinois that mandates alcohol and drug testing of police.

Unionized police departments will face more issues, though. Even a quick reading of the new legislation reveals some gaping holes.  For instance, it does not specify the drugs that would be tested or how testing would be accomplished (urine, hair, blood, etc.).  Unions will likely demand input on these issues as well as ensuring that an officer subject to testing has the opportunity to speak to a union representative, along with the opportunity to bargain other matters, such as potential disciplinary action.

At least one police union has notified the employers of their members of the union’s demand to bargain both the decision and impact of implementing this new legislation.   While a number of issues regarding this amendment certainly exist, it appears that the state legislature has already made the decision about post shooting drug testing. Whether a police department is unionized or not, employers must comply with these new drug testing requirements. For assistance in drafting policies, identifying the parameters of bargaining obligations, or learning more about this new legislation, Ancel Glink labor and employment attorneys are here to help.