(CBS) – The Better Government Association has found that local police are allowed to work when they’re close to what’s considered drunk.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports the BGA said numerous suburban police departments have contract clauses that allow officers to be on duty with a blood-alcohol content as high as .079 – just below the .08 legal limit for drunk driving.
That’s the case in Elmwood Park and Oak Park, according to documents reviewed by the BGA.
“Some of these police officers are driving cars at high speeds, carrying guns, making arrests, and dealing with high stress situations, even though they have enough alcohol in their blood to be considered close to drunk,” BGA president and CEO Andy Shaw said.
The BGA’s investigation found, in Westchester, Forest Park, Glendale Heights, and South Barrington, police contracts allow rank-and-file officers to come to work with a blood-alcohol level up to and including .049.
Some departments have a zero tolerance policy in regard to blood-alcohol content on the job. Shaw said all departments should have that policy.
“It’s absolutely outrageous. These are collective bargaining agreements in which police unions have somehow forced police departments to allow high levels of alcohol in the bloodstreams of cops when they’re on the job,” Shaw said.
The BGA noted, according to medical experts, motor skills start being effected when a person’s blood-alcohol level is .04.
Even a blood-alcohol level as low as .02 can affect a person’s reaction time.