Zero tolerance is impractical for police officers, so the alcohol limits in contracts serve a purpose, said David Wickster, executive director of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, which represents more than 450 bargaining units in Illinois, including many in Chicago suburbs.
Those limits started appearing in police contracts in the 1980s and early `90s, Wickster
Then, the accepted limit was 0.10.
It fell to 0.08 for many departments when the state adjusted its standard definition of drunkenness, and it has been decreasing since.
said the issue arose about the time the government was revisiting standards for transportation workers after a rash of accidents.
doesn't know the average blood-alcohol concentration in police contracts but said he
was not aware of departments that have a "zero tolerance" clause.
Although prohibiting alcohol may "sound good and feel good," it's impossible for some officers to obey, especially when they are undercover, he
"Having to drink, in some scenarios, is part of your job," he
The Fraternal Order of Police also argues that alcohol can remain in a body long after a person stops drinking.
noted: "If you had a few cocktails the night before your shift at your brother-in-law's wedding, it could show up the next morning.
To write a blanket law ... would be very difficult."
said officers have been accused of drunkenness on the job, and some of the accusations have proven true.
said, "it is not a significant number," not even numbering in the dozens each year.