Drug testing long overdue for county

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By The Staff

Random drug testing for county employees?

It appears that is a good possibility sometime in early 2008.

It's honestly a bit surprising that Bullitt County hasn't been implementing at least a drug testing policy upon hiring new employees.

With discussions recently, it appears the policy would include all full- and part-time employees who work or hope to work for the county.

It's a good thing.

The county presumably hasn't had any problems of employees who were on duty and under the influence. But if there is some doubt, the random testing could solve the problem.

There will be no doubt some who are concerned with the policy, which has yet to be drafted. But those who are clean and sober shouldn't be concerned.

Bullitt County has a lot of wonderful employees -- including some who are already tested due to the nature of their positions.

Having a random drug testing policy should not hurt the current or future work force at all.

With jailer Danny Fackler running close to capacity at the 300-bed detention center, should Bullitt Fiscal Court members even consider the possibility of signing a contract with the U.S. marshal's office to house the federal prisoners?

The proximity of Bullitt County to the federal courthouse in Louisville makes this facility very, very attractive. Currently, Grayson County has a large population of federal inmates and has been a primary institution for many years.

Bullitt County officials have a couple of things to consider.

First, do they want to take on the added responsibility, although federal inmates are typically white-collar crime artists and not as dangerous as those picked up daily by local officials.

Second, to generate enough beds to make it worthwhile, does the county cut down on the number of state inmates housed in the local jail?

Finally, should the county immediately hook up with an architect to determine if the present jail could be expanded?

With the forecast of bed shortages in the federal system and with the possibility of getting involved with other federal agencies, Bullitt County should seriously look at the present use of its detention center and whether expansion could be in its future.

We opined many years ago when the current jail size was being debated, there is a decision to be made. At the time six years ago when plans were being discussed, Bullitt County opted to get into the jail business by constructing a 300-bed facility.

Now, that 300-bed jail may not be large enough.

Bullitt County does not want to become the next home to a prison facility. However, officials must seriously consider the path it wishes to take in the area of corrections.

Would housing 50 federal inmates, which is what Oldham County currently does, help make the local jail become self-supporting? Yes.

Is it the best long-term to house federal inmates? The jailer and the court must decide that.