Random drug tests coming to entire Arlington Police Department following steroid investigation

Posted Thursday, Jun. 13, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Police Chief Will Johnson announced Thursday that the entire Arlington Police Department will undergo random drug tests in the wake of a federal investigation involving possible illegal use of steroids by officers.

Johnson put the department on notice Thursday that if anyone is caught using illegal drugs, “they will be terminated.”

Officer Thomas Kantzos, who faces federal charges in the investigation, has been fired, Johnson said during a news conference at Arlington police headquarters.

Kantzos, a 17-year veteran, was arrested Tuesday, accused of accessing law-enforcement-only databases to tip off a dealer from whom he had been buying steroids for himself and other officers for years, according to a federal complaint released Wednesday.

Another officer under investigation, David Vo, committed suicide Tuesday afternoon under a tree near his home in west Arlington.

A third officer has been mentioned in the investigation but hadn’t been arrested by late Thursday.

Johnson, who became chief in March, said his plan for department-wide drug testing is an expansion of the current policy. It would, he asserted, help rebuild “the community trust.”

Under current policy, officers submit to drug tests when they are employed, said Sgt. Chris Cook, a police spokesman.

Later, random tests are given to members of the department who regularly come in contact with drugs, such as undercover narcotics officers. Drug testing is also a requirement when officers apply for promotions to sergeant, lieutenant or command positions.

Expanding the tests to all badge-carrying employees is meant to ensure there are “no gaps,” Johnson said.

Johnson was asked if he believed the department has a problem with illegal steroids, which are known to boost muscle development.

“I think that there’s no reason, no way to say there’s not a problem,” considering that three officers were under investigation, Johnson said.

Randle Meadows, president of the Arlington Police Association, said his organization will assert its right to discuss any changes to the policies under by the “meet and confer” process. The process gives members the right to give input on work conditions. He said it was premature to discuss specifics about Johnson’s announcement.

Johnson referred all questions about the federal investigation to the FBI, saying only that Arlington police are cooperating with federal agents.

The chief said police investigators do not believe there is any connection between possible steroid use by some officers and the arrest Thursday of a man suspected of killing a popular English teacher at Kennedale Junior High School.

The teacher, John Ross Shreves, was known to work out with weights, but Johnson reiterated that there did not appear to be a connection, despite rumors to that effect in the community.

Shreves was found shot to death early Monday in his car outside an Arlington sports bar, one of four homicides in Arlington in the past week. Former classmate Patrick Brooks was arrested Thursday in the teacher’s death.

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST

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