Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis may require his officers do something uncommon: submit to regular testing for steroids, the Boston Globe reports. “It really does revolve around the issues of steroids causing aggression in people and the concern around that problem,” Davis said. A Globe survey of nine major departments – including New York, Los Angeles, and the Massachusetts State Police – found that none tests regularly for steroids. Those departments follow protocols similar to Boston’s. Officers are regularly tested for narcotics such as cocaine and amphetamines. They are checked for steroids only if officials suspect they are using them.
Other police departments say testing for steroids is too expensive to do regularly. It costs at least $100 to test for anabolic steroids, but only about $25 for a test that determines whether an officer has taken marijuana, opiates, cocaine, amphetamines, or PCP. The scandal engulfing Major League Baseball has shifted attention to the effects of steroids, which can cause violent mood swings, aggression, and paranoia. Departments in several major cities say they are considering testing for steroids. “It is being looked at in the future to be added to our random screening,” said Chicago officer Marcel Bright. Steroid use “not only impairs [officers’] judgment. It also impairs their ability to enforce drug laws if they’re actually using them,” he said. When it comes to punishing officers who test positive for drugs, Chicago, Miami, New York, and Philadelphia fire those who test positive. Boston officers who test positive are suspended for 45 days.