When Edgefield County Sheriff Adell Dobey announced his random drug-screening program, it not only fulfilled his campaign pledge of two years ago, it also brought his deputies, dispatchers and jailers in line with all other county employees in safety sensitive positions who for six years have been subjected to the tests.
Why did the Sheriff's Department take so long to climb aboard? Because South Carolina law allows elected officials, such as sheriffs, to make their own drug-testing policies.
Dobey got a lot of mileage in his election campaign on the issue and rightly so. Law enforcement agencies should be the first to drug screen, not the last. To dramatize his commitment to the program, the sheriff and his chief deputy, Capt. Roger Lowe, were the first to undergo the tests. No surprise. They're both negative.
Another plus is that drug screening greatly lessens the county's legal exposure. Drugs are one of the first things a plaintiff lawyer looks at when a client seeks to sue for incompetence.