Fire chief agrees to random drug testing after union’s request

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Chief Dennis Jones said he would submit to the drug tests in an effort to make it a requirement for firefighters and paramedics

By EMS1 Staff

TAMPA, Fla. — A fire chief agreed to submit to random drug tests after a union requested he join the staff in the new contract requirement.

Tampa Bay Times reported that Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Chief Dennis Jones and his administrative staff agreed to the stipulation in an effort to get the fire union to approve the vote on the new contract, which requires random drug testing for the first time.

International Association of Firefighters Local 2294 president Derrik Ryan said the chief’s decision to join in on the tests would go a long way in helping with their decision to agree.

"The fire chief sincerely hopes that this voluntary gesture will further show his support for all fire rescue personnel and his continued commitment to HCFR," senior assistant county attorney Rudy Haidermota said.

The new contract explicitly bans illegal drug use outside work hours and requires that five employees be drug tested every other week.

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