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Deputy charged with drug possession

Law enforcement officers are generally expected to uphold the tenets of local and federal law. These individuals are still human beings who make mistakes, however, and they should not be treated differently from any other citizen in a court of law, no matter the nature of their alleged crimes. A long-time veteran of the Eaton County Sheriff's Office in Michigan may have broken several laws in connection with alleged drug crimes. The man is charged with embezzlement by a public official and possession of a controlled substance.

Authorities say the man was on duty when he came upon an abandoned car in Windsor Township in late August. The 21-year veteran of the force found hydrocodone tablets inside the vehicle. That medication is a high-powered painkiller that is commonly abused by addicts and others. It is generally sold under brand names including Vicodin and Lortab.

Even the man's supervisors are supporting him through the situation, calling the incident unfortunate, but acknowledging that the defendant is a human being who succumbs to temptation. The 45-year-old man had been under scrutiny because of potential drug addiction or abuse in the past, with coworkers bringing the subject to light about two months prior to his arrest. Prosecutors in the case said they will not treat the man differently simply because he is an officer. However, he will be subject to certain sanctions that are specific to his job. For example, he is barred from carrying a firearm.

The man could face a 10-year prison term if he is convicted of the charges. He has been released on $10,000 bond and may not enter county property until further hearings in the case.

In this situation, it is hard to believe that the criminal charges would have been necessary if the man's supervisors would have simply helped him with rehabilitation or treatment before the alleged theft. Employers have a responsibility to look out for the welfare of their workers. It is not clear whether that mandate was upheld in this case.

Source: www.lansingstatejournal.com, "Eaton County sheriff's deputy faces embezzlement, drug charges" Matthew Miller, Aug. 26, 2013