Trial begins for Pinellas deputy accused of stealing drugs

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The trial of a fired Pinellas County deputy is underway.  Steven Jared Smith, 32, is accused of stealing confiscated drugs and pawning his gun last year.

Investigators say in September, Smith stole a bottle of hydrocodone that was supposed to be destroyed.  They say he also pawned his service pistol for $250.  Smith was charged with grand theft and possession of a controlled substance.

According to investigators, Smith developed ‘performance issues’ while assigned to the narcotics division, which continued even after he was transferred from narcotics to other positions.

After his firing, Smith talked to 10News, denying allegations that he stole pain pills or broke the law pawning his service weapon.  He also says he was a target by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office after he spoke out against what he called questionable practices within the department, specifically a policy that called for deputies to question 30 citizens a month with field interviews.

While researching this story, we looked into policies regarding drug testing when it comes to law enforcement officers and here’s what we found.

In the St. Petersburg Police department, 10 random employees are tested each month.  Prescription drugs are not tested for.   If an officer tests positive, the Office of Professional Standards conducts an investigation and the command review board determines the corrective action.

 As for prescriptions drugs, employees have to fill out a questionnaire at test sites and list any prescription drugs they take in case it causes a positive test result for some type of drug.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, all employees are tested before being hired.  They’re also tested at all required medical exams.  Employees are also subject to random screenings or if there is a reasonable suspicion.   They test for Amphetamines, Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Benzoylecgonine, Cannabinoids, Cocaine, Fentanyl, Methaqualone, Methadone, Meperidine, Opiates, Oxycodone, Pentazocine, Phencyclidine, Propoxyphene and Nalbuphine.  

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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