A federal appeals court has ruled to uphold an NYPD policy requiring all officers who kill or harm someone via gunshot to take a breathalyzer test following the shooting.
The policy, called Interim Order 52, was instituted in 2006 after NYPD officers shot and killed Sean Bell. The officers were working undercover at a club on the night they shot bell and witnesses report they saw the officers “nursing” drinks at the club.
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York – the union representing NYPD officers – filed a motion against the policy claiming it violates an officer’s fourth amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizures. Mind you, this same union now so concerned about fourth amendment rights openly supports the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk policy. Funny how that works.
"Sobriety is a fitness-for-duty condition of employment with the NYPD," the judicial panel said. The "immediate object of IO-52 testing is not to arrest or prosecute the police officer who discharged his firearm, but rather to confirm - for his employer and the public - that the officer was fit for duty when he fired his gun."
The panel added that due to the nature of their work, police officers cannot invoke the same privacy standards that those in other industries are entitled to.
"Because NYPD officers are authorized to carry firearms and to use deadly force, they have a diminished expectation of privacy in employer testing that ensures their fitness for duty," the ruling reads.
According to the ruling, Interim Order 52 was put in place in order to restore public confidence in the NYPD’s ability to internally investigate officers involved in resident shootings. 15-20 officers have been subjected to breathalyzer testing since 2006. To date, none of them have failed the test.