Philadelphia Narcotics Cops Fail Drug Tests

Philadelphia narcotics cops ruin their careers after failing drug tests for cocaine.
Nina Fenton
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Two police officers, Jimmy Gist and Leon McKnight, from the Philadelphia Police Department’s narcotics division have officially retired after testing positive for cocaine when recent drug tests were conducted in September and October. Gist, 56, is a 29 year veteran of the police force with McKnight, 48, serving for 19 years. Both officers worked in the narcotics division from 2000 until their hasty retirements last month.

From Cops to Coke Users

According to reports, Gist and McKnight were required to comply with the random employment drug testing policy implemented by the Philadelphia Police Department. The tests were conducted separately, but the outcomes were identical as both officers were determined to have cocaine in their systems based upon the results of a 5 panel hair follicle drug test, a test that goes back 90 days.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey confirmed that the drug test results showed that both officers had ingested cocaine at some point, which resulted in both testing well beyond the city’s predetermined limits, according to a statement given to the Philly Daily News. Commissioner Ramsey would have preferred to relieve the officers of their duties himself, but he was beat to the punch when they retired before he was able to follow through with his plans.

Never one to mince words, Commissioner Ramsey said “It’s disappointing when this happens anywhere [in the department], but the fact that it’s in narcotics just points to the fact that there’s a problem with having these guys stay in these units for too long.”

A Corrupt Division

Ramsey has been hammering away at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5 (FOP) for quite some time in an effort to implement a system that allows officers to work in other departments rather than being locked into the narcotics division. He was confident that alternating officers would reduce the incidents of corruption that were continually plaguing the division. However, convincing the higher ups within the FOP to get on board with his proposed policy was a whole new ballgame.

“You wind up hitting a brick wall,” Ramsey said. “I don’t give a damn about the guys who are testing positive or engaging in corruption, but the shame of it is that this taints the men and the women in the unit who are honest, decent officers who aren’t involved in any kind of illicit behavior.”

It is unclear at this point what actions the Philadelphia Police Department will take to prevent future incidents of officers testing positive for the very drugs they are tasked with removing from the streets.

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Nina works hard to be a voice to the voiceless whose stories about drug testing, DNA testing and paternity deserve to be told. It is her goal to always come from a place free of judgment and full of compassion.

WRITTEN BY

Nina works hard to be a voice to the voiceless whose stories about drug testing, DNA testing and paternity deserve to be told. It is her goal to always come from a place free of judgment and full of compassion.

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