Dallas Police Will Consider Recruits with Histories of Drug Use

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DALLAS (AP) - The Dallas Police Department has relaxed its hiring standards and will now consider applicants who have used small amounts of drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

Previously, recruiters could consider applicants who had used marijuana. But would-be officers who had tried harder drugs could not be hired.

Deputy Chief Floyd Simpson says the department is within its rights to consider people who experimented with drugs but went on to become productive, law-abiding citizens. Police Chief David Kunkle points out that the new policy is similar to the one used by the FBI.

It's also similar to hiring practices in other cities. Arlington police officials say they consider candidates who have used marijuana or cocaine, if the drug use was long ago and in small amounts.

The change in Dallas comes as the 3,180-member department attempts to add officers to its ranks to curb illegal activity in what has been the nation's most crime-ridden big city.