Random Drug Screens are Now Required for Liberty County Sheriff’s Office

By Michael Klazema on 4/16/2013

Bobby Rader decided to announce a big change at the end of the Sheriff’s employee meeting held in March. The department holds a meeting every month to go over policy changes, employee requests. and anything else that needs to be discussed. Upon a careful examination of both the Sheriff and Liberty County handbooks for employees, he said felt that surprise drug screenings should be in order. Could background checks be next? Screenings are already a part of the hiring process and mandatory if an employee has an accident on the job, but most consider this a first for employees that are currently working for the sheriff’s department.

At the meeting, Sheriff Rader had a jar in which he’d placed several pieces of paper with numbers on them. Every employee who came to the meeting signed an attendance sheet that was numbered as well. From the jar, Rader drew ten numbers and asked those employees to stick around after the meeting, so they could provide a sample for drug testing. Even in the case of extensive background checks, there will be times when drug testing is needed.

When asked about the random drug screening, the Sheriff stated that since agencies for law enforcement are held to standards higher than the average employer, they need to be credible and accountable. He also said random drug testing should add a fair amount of both, so citizens feel their officers are equipped to do the job. The screening isn’t just for officers on the street either. All employees for the Sheriff’s department will be included to add to the overall professionalism. To further the screening, in-depth background checks should be followed.

The employees at the meeting as well as the rest informed were fine with the new implementation. They each participated in the first round of testing. When the names were drawn, a sergeant, a patrol deputy, a part-time temp, and an administrative clerk were all included in the testing. The sheriff expects to use the monthly meeting for testing, and the drawing to be as random as possible.

When the health and safety of so many people are in the hands of a few individuals, it’s critical that only the most responsible take the job. This means that proper screening is done from the outset and continued often. In addition to extensive background checks, initial drug screening, and detailed interviews, the surprise tests are an additional precaution. Weeding out potential hires who may be unstable, who have issues with addiction, or who have violent track records is critical in this line of work. Once the initial hire has made it onto the force, more follow-ups can happen in the form of performance reviews as well as the surprise drug screenings. Each will go a long way in ensuring that only the most qualified candidates are hired and kept. Sheriff Rader feels he is taking a necessary step in the right direction to ensure his force is filled with only the most suitable candidates.

Screening criteria are becoming much more rigorous during this time when gaining employment is fiercely competitive. More and more companies now require background checks, and many are using screening companies to take care of those searches. For example, at, employers can use their US OneSEARCH tool. This allows them to check a person’s full name and date of birth against more than 450 million criminal records. They can also implement a drug policy with the use of their Drug Screening services. With more than 2000 occupational health clinics across the nation, organizations should have no trouble finding a compatible clinic for the program.

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