Three Los Angeles City Council members raised objections yesterday to a police department policy that has allowed six people to be hired as officers despite admitting past use of drugs, including cocaine, the Los Angeles Times reports. Councilmen Bernard C. Parks, Dennis Zine, and Greig Smith plan to ask the full council to reemphasize its long-standing zero-tolerance policy for recruits. “If they have voluntarily chosen to use felony illegal drugs, either they caved in to peer pressure or there is a flaw in their character makeup in which they are willing to break the law to experiment,” said Smith, a reserve police officer. “These are not the kind of people we want as police officers.”
Zine also asked for a detailed report on the results of random drug testing of officers after hearing from an LAPD official that 40 police employees have resigned in lieu of facing discipline for drug use during the last two years and another 25 have been terminated for drug-related reasons. “The impression we get is that now hard drugs of a certain type can be used, at least on a juvenile level or experimental level,” said Parks, a former police chief. Zine, also a reserve police officer, worried that standards were being lowered because the LAPD has had difficulty meeting recruitment goals, something the department denies.