It should come as no surprise that law enforcement and safety personnel undergo Boston drug, and other, tests. The results are actually pretty impressive. Since the Menino administration launched random drug testing of Boston firefighters last fall, 57 percent of the Fire Department’s union members have been tested – and only two have failed, according to the department.
“There have been two positive tests,” the department said in a statement. Local 718 represents an estimated 1,400 firefighters of all ranks.
City Hall officials said both firefighters who failed were given 30-day unpaid suspensions and directed into the Employee Assistance Program.
Some folks know that sometimes “less” is “more”. For example, Boston Fire Commissioner Roderick Fraser declined to be interviewed on the meaning of the results. “The numbers speak for themselves,” was the statement he released. Others, however, need to crow. Rich Paris, for example, is the president of Local 718. He took advantage of said results to indicate that the results prove two things – the union never opposed drug testing during the contract talks, and Boston firefighters do not regularly abuse drugs or alcohol.
“This shows that our members weren’t against” drug testing, Paris said in a telephone interview. “They’ve proven it by not coming up positive for drinking and drug testing.”
While one can wonder at the logic behind that statement, one cannot quibble about the results.
The push for random drug and alcohol testing became a significant issue in 2007 after a blaze at a local Chinese Restaurant in West Roxbury killed two firefighters. According to autopsy results, one firefighter had traces of cocaine in his system, and the other had a blood-alcohol content of 0.27, more than three times the state’s legal limit.
Firefighting, like police work, in any location from Boston to Pittsfield to Swampscott, is a highly pressured job.
This is a given.
Therefore, some people would think it only makes sense that these tests take place…particularly given the importance to public safety that is involved.
While it is unfortunate that some need to use the issue politically, one cannot argue about the results. To expect one hundred percent, given human weakness, might be too much to expect. However, these results are pretty close.
If you would like to read the story upon which this blog is based, please to go http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2011/04/only_two_boston.html
Have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!