Agencies make changes to keep officers safe around drugs

Crime

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A rise in synthetic drugs is causing some law enforcement agencies to handle business differently.

The reason is to keep first responders safe in situations where unknown drugs are involved.

While most of us don’t run into narcotics in our normal work conditions, first responders do.

And with more unknown drugs on the street, it’s important for them to be prepared.

McPherson Police Officer Trea Lott carries Narcan in his patrol vehicle.

“As a department, we all did the training together and we had EMS director come and she showed us how to administer it and use it on ourselves,” said Trea Lott, McPherson Police Officer.

The nasal spray can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. It’s now in every patrol and investigations vehicle to save citizens’ and officers’ lives.

That’s something the department just recently implemented.

“There’s been an increase throughout the United States in overdoses and accidental exposures from different types of opioids including fentanyl,” said Mark Brinck, McPherson Police Department.

While McPherson police haven’t had any close calls with dangerous drugs, a Sedgwick County Sheriff’s detective has.

Because of that, deputies no longer do field testing on drugs.

“We will package it and turn it into the forensic science center for testing, but we no longer do field testing just because of all the dangers involved,” said Lt. Lin Dehning, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

Lieutenant Lin Dehning says deputies don’t carry Narcan on them, but they have it at the office and EMS carries it.

He says some drugs are so strong they can go through a glove, and it’s important for the public to also be cautious of what you find.

“If they run across something, if they buy a used car and find a package of something, then they need to know not to open it, that type of thing, just an awareness,” said Dehning.

Dehning emphasized that in these situations where you come across a suspicious substance, you should contact your local authorities immediately.


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