New Schaumburg police contract includes random drug testing

 
 
Updated 12/11/2013 6:00 PM

Schaumburg village trustees Tuesday unanimously approved a new three-year contract with rank-and-file police officers, granting them 2 percent annual raises while allowing the village to randomly test some for drug use.

Under the deal, which is retroactive to May 1, the village can seek random drug tests up to four times a year for officers who engage in enforcement of narcotics laws, village Manager Briand Townsend said. The testing requirement will apply primarily to officers in specialty or investigations units and not patrol officers, and is a result of the arrests earlier this year of three undercover officers on drug conspiracy charges, Townsend said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The testing also was recommended by law enforcement consultant Hillard Heintze as part of its review of police department operations.

"(The officers) understood it," Townsend said. "It was part of the negotiating process."

The police union, which represents 98 sworn officers, previously ratified the agreement, Townsend said. Representatives of the union could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Negotiations on a new contract began in March, but soon stalled and the two sides appeared headed to binding arbitration, which is required because striking is not an option for police officers. However, Townsend said when he took over as village manager in October, he approached union leadership to reopen talks. Two meetings later, a deal was struck.

Townsend said the breakthrough occurred in part because the village became "more flexible" on some of the positions it had staked out early in the negotiations.

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The agreement comes just a couple weeks after village trustees authorized a three-year deal with the union representing the 16 sergeants and five lieutenants who make up the police department's command staff. The contract grants those officers 2 percent annual salary hikes and allows for random drug testing up to four times a year.

The village also is negotiating for new contracts with its public works employees represented by International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 and clerical and administrative staff represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Townsend said he hopes to have new deals in place by early next year.

"I would characterize our conversations as amiable and productive," he said. "We're have good conversations and moving toward agreements."

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