Random Drug Testing For LFR

Its been 9 months since two Lincoln Paramedics were suspended and charged in two drug related cases. These incidents have caused the City and the association of Fire Fighters to take action, and Monday they signed a new agreement on random drug testing.

The drug testing agreement signed Monday all stems back to July when two paramedics were charged for taking controlled substances. Members of the Lincoln Fire Department told us the new agreement will help to ensure that history doesn't repeat itself.

Last July, two Lincoln Fire Fighters were arrested and had their Paramedic licenses suspended because of drug charges.  John Massie was accused of taking and using morphine from an LFR ambulance, while Mark Eberspacher was accused of stealing Hyrdrocodone from a former patient after sneaking back into her home.

Monday with a quick stroke of a pen, Mayor Chris Beutler and the Firefighter's union signed a drug testing agreement to make sure this kind of thing never happens again.

“With this new drug testing policy, every person who puts on the LRF uniform will have no doubt about the reliability and judgement of the colleagues upon whom they depend for their very lives,” Mayor Beutler said. 

Chief Niles Ford says the agreement isn't damage control, saying he was working on establishing drug testing even before the incidents. To show his support, Chief Ford voluntarily agreed to be part of the 296 LFR employees who will now be subjected to random drug testing.

“We have to test 50 percent of the pool which means we have to test 50 percent of the people in the system. In doing that, that test, we test 20 percents for drugs and 10 percent for alcohol,” Chief Ford said.

In addition to pre-employment and random testing, pool members can also be tested in cases of reasonable suspicion. As for punishment for positive test.

“Understand this, there are certain situations that could follow any circumstance so the situation will always probably call for discipline could vary from suspension to termination,” Chief Ford said.

Again, Mayor Beutler says the drug testing applies to 296 employees and will cost the city $14,000 dollars and will officially begin in 2 months.