Cobb County government officials are conducting an investigation following claims that five county firefighters and a police officer may have consumed and/or distributed steroids without prescriptions.
County officials were notified by the Marietta Cobb Smyrna Narcotics Unit that a county employee may have illegally used steroids. An investigation by the county’s internal affairs unit and legal department began the week of May 20 and remains active.
The investigation, originally focused on one former firefighter accused of using steroids in 2010, expanded following additional claims that other firefighters and a police officer could be involved, county spokesman Robert Quigley said.
Based on information gathered, the county placed some of the employees on paid administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation.
The investigation is expected to continue for the next several weeks as the county makes every effort to detect and prevent this type of activity, Quigley said.
Cobb County Government has a zero tolerance policy for the possession or consumption of controlled substances unless directed by a physician.
“We expect our employees to follow the rules, to set a positive example for those around them and to hold themselves to the highest standards of conduct both on and off duty,” County Manager David Hankerson said in an email. “This investigation will let us know how these employees acted and if they broke the rules.”
County Chairman Tim Lee said he was only notified of the investigation on Monday afternoon.
“We have a no-tolerance policy toward this kind of use, and my hopes are that the charges will be unfounded and they will just be circumstances that somebody had an ax to grind and that the firefighters and the police officer will be reinstated. But, if there is in fact proof that they violated the policy, then the discipline will be determined by (Cobb Fire Chief Sam Heaton) and (Public Safety Director Jack Forsythe) and Mr. Hankerson as to what the appropriate response should be to whatever they discover,” Lee said.
Lee said this was the first instance he could recall of Cobb firefighters being accused of illegal steroid use.
“They like to pump iron because they like to keep in shape, and it could just be a handful of guys,” Lee said. “In the end, we might find out there is no violation, but there was enough evidence to look at it, and that’s what we’re doing now is looking, and they’ve been put on leave until we can get to the bottom of it.”
Quigley said there are no indications that the distribution or use of steroids occurred on county property or while these employees were on duty.
The current status of each employee is:
- Employee 1: Fire Department, seven-year employee, resigned;
- Employee 2: Fire Department, 15-year employee, administrative leave;
- Employee 3: Fire Department, 22-year employee, remains on duty;
- Employee 4: Fire Department, 24-year employee, administrative leave;
- Employee 5: Fire Department, 26-year employee, administrative leave;
- Employee 6: Police Department, seven-year employee, resigned.