City officer resigns, 2nd dismissed after failing drug tests

December 06, 1990|By Roger Twigg

A Baltimore police officer has resigned from the department and a sergeant with 19 years on the force has been fired after testing positive for cocaine use during random drug testing, according to officials.

The two are the first to fall victim to the department's drug-testing program, which was instituted in April and which has so far tested about 1,000 officers.

Both of the policemen were assigned to narcotics units at the district level, police said.

The officer, who was not identified because no formal charges were lodged, was a six-year member of the force who last served in a drug-enforcement unit in the Southern District, officials said.

He resigned June 11 rather than face departmental charges, said Michael A. Fry, an assistant city solicitor.

The sergeant, Bruce R. Brooks, who had been assigned to a vice unit in the Northeastern District, was ordered dismissed by Police Commissioner Edward V. Woods Nov. 21 after a six-day departmental hearing.

According to Mr. Fry, Sergeant Brooks contended during the hearing that he had gotten the cocaine into his system while handling it during drug raids.

But internal investigators checked departmental reports and learned that he had handled only a small quantity of drugs in raids during the crucial 48-hour period when drugs might have remained in his system, the assistant city solicitor said.

Sergeant Brooks has 30 days from the date of his dismissal in which to appeal the police commissioner's decision to Circuit Court, and his attorney, Gilbert H. Robinette, said last night that the sergeant intended to do so.

Mr. Robinette said he was not satisfied with the procedures used during the departmental hearing and questioned the accuracy of the testing procedures used by the department.

He also said that environmental con-tamination during drug raids was a real problem.

"When you go into a building, you go in all excited. You don't know what's in the air," he said.

Although dozens of other officers assigned to narcotics enforcement have handled large quantities of drugs, none of them has tested positive for drug use, officials said.

Dennis S. Hill, a police spokesman, said department officials had expected more officers to test positive for drug use and were happy that only two cases had been documented.

"We all like to think that our police agencies are drug-free. When drug-testing such as this bears it out, it's nice to know," Mr. Hill said.

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