New disclosures about illegal drug use by Scottsdale police employees raise additional questions about the department’s hiring policies, said the president of the Fraternal Order of Police.
The latest acknowledgements also elevate the importance of an ongoing review of the hiring policies, said Chet Anderson, president of Scottsdale’s Lodge 35 of the police organization.
"That would be a very interesting review to look at," he said.
The Tribune reported Tuesday that at least 10 to 20 current police employees have been hired despite past drug use that exceeded the department’s standards.
The applicants were hired from 1996 through mid-2003 after being given waivers by the police chief, according to police personnel specialist Michael Sperry in a court document.
Chief Alan Rodbell, who succeeded Doug Bartosh last year, noted that Scottsdale’s drug standards are more stringent than those used by the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board, a statewide organization that certifies police officers.
The board limits applicants to 20 "experimental" uses of marijuana, including no more than five uses after the age of 21; and five uses of illegal narcotics, including no more than one use after age 21.
Scottsdale’s policy limits applicants to 10 uses of marijuana before the age of 21, and one use of narcotics before 21.
Scottsdale’s policy also allows the police chief to waive the requirements in "extraordinary" cases.
"We don’t have any officers here that have come close to AZPOST standards," Rodbell said.
Sperry’s estimate, which is contained in a June 20 affidavit, does not include similar hires that may have been made before 1996 or after June 2003.
City and police personnel already had been preparing a review of police hiring policies at the request of David Ortega, city councilman and mayoral candidate.
Ortega called for a review in December after a Tribune report in October that the department’s top civilian executive admitted to using cocaine about 20 times years before she was hired in 1998.
Civilian police employees are not required to receive the standards board’s certification.
Anderson said all police employees should be held to the same standards.
"We all work for the police department. Everyone has the same goal in mind — to make the city as safe as possible and put the bad guys behind bars," Anderson said.
Sperry’s affidavit is part of a pending race discrimination lawsuit against the city by police fingerprint technician Steven Anderson. Chet Anderson and Steven Anderson are not related.