Santa Rosa, Fl., Sheriff Wendell Hall plans to bar employees – including deputies, jailers and civilian workers – from using tobacco products on or off the clock, reports the Pensacola News Journal. People already employed will not be allowed to smoke or use tobacco products at work, but the restriction will not apply to non-work hours. The new policy reflects a nationwide trend to lower health care costs by hiring employees who don’t use tobacco products – and to encourage current employees to quit.
Kathy Marshall, a Santa Rosa deputy for the past 9½ years, estimates that more than half of current officers smoke. She does not smoke but is not a fan of the policy. “I think it’s OK for an officer to smoke, but to do it in a private spot,” she said. Larry Owens, an 18-year deputy and a smoker, supports the new policy. “I agree with it 100 percent. It’s just a matter of professionalism,” he said. “I think an officer needs to project a professional image to the public, and I think it will be good. It won’t affect me like it will the new hires, but that’s something they’ll have to deal with themselves.”