CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla.- Employees at the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office may soon have to wait to go home before they light up a cigarette.
Sheriff Bill Cameron wants to forbid all employees from using or possessing any tobacco products while on the clock. Cigarettes, chewing tobacco and cigars fall into that category.
Ron Andrews, a retired police officer and the owner of a cigar shop in Punta Gorda, has a unique perspective on the proposed change.
"It is difficult...I understand where the sheriff is coming from as far as the public perception of an officer," Andrews said.
But Andrews also aruges that some choices should be up to the individual.
"There's a lot of things that are bad for you that are legal and as an adult you have to make that choice as to whether or not you want to participate in that endeavour," Andrews added.
Both the sheriff and the union, which represents the Charlotte County deputies, refused to talk to the media about this proposed policy change. They said that since it is still in negotiations, to talk to the media about it would be a violation of their good faith agreement.
For now, the proposed policy change is just that-- a proposal. The sheriff and the union are trying to come to an agreement on whether or not such a policy should be enforced, or go up in smoke.
The Punta Gorda Police Department, the Fort Myers Police Department and Lee County Sheriff's Office all have policies in place that restrict when employees can smoke on the job, but do not forbid it entirely