Officer Hangs Self After Drug Test 

Officer Hangs Self After Drug Test 
Posted by FoM on November 17, 1999 at 07:54:56 PT
By Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Staff Writer
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
The 24-year police veteran broke the news to his wife Friday afternoon. He had been among 10 officers chosen for the Atlantic City department's first random drug testing, and he had flunked.
Sitting at his Galloway Township home on disability since May, in constant pain from a back injury, unable to run around with his children, Detective Michael Strehle, 44, was 15 months away from retiring."He saw everything he worked for going up in smoke," family lawyer Harry Goldenberg said yesterday. "He told his wife he was considering killing himself because he could no longer support his wife and children."Strehle then locked himself in a second-floor bedroom, police said. With his wife pleading with him to come out, he stepped onto the balcony and hanged himself.Galloway Township police got a call at 4:16 p.m. from Strehle's brother-in-law, who had broken down the bedroom door and found him."The officer was found hanging from a porch attached to the second floor of his house," said Patrolman Frank Weir, a Galloway Police Department spokesman.Atlantic City police were conducting an internal investigation yesterday, and would not comment beyond extending "deepest sympathies" to the family.Strehle was picked to take a drug test under new guidelines set forth by the state Attorney General's Office. Last week was the first time officers were tested at random, according to Anthony Vicciarelli, president of Atlantic City's Police Benevolent Association.Strehle had been taking medication after undergoing surgery for a disc herniation, according to Goldenberg. The drug the test found was not revealed yesterday.He had planned to support his family after retiring through his pension and from a recently acquired jitney franchise, according to Vicciarelli.Goldenberg said Strehle had been despondent about being laid up. "He was in constant pain," he said, "and home alone."Atlantic City Police Sgt. Michael Tullio said the department had suspended two officers in the last year after they flunked drug tests administered specifically to address "reasonable suspicion." Both had hearings pending, he said. The new policy allows for veteran officers to be randomly tested along with newer officers and applicants.Tullio would not comment on the results of Strehle's drug test, which he said was an internal matter and, "due to Strehle's untimely death, is now considered to be a moot issue."Louis Toscano, the mayor's policy director, said the ramifications of Strehle's death - and whether his family would be entitled to his pension - were being sorted out.A viewing for Strehle will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. today at the H.M. Gormley Funeral Home, 44 N. Albany Ave., Atlantic City, and from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. tomorrow at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church, South Tennessee and Pacific Avenue. A Funeral Mass will follow at noon.In addition to his wife, Jeanette, the detective is survived by three children and two sisters.Vicciarelli said that the department's honor guard would attend the services.The Philadelphia InquirerNovember 17, 1999 1998 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.Related Article: After Failing Drug Test, Policeman Hangs Himself - 11/16/99
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