By Seth Daniel
After three officers were exposed and affected by Fentanyl last Friday – and another had been exposed and affected in June – Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes has established a brand new protocol for how officers respond to drug incident.
“What we’ve decided to do is take action,” he said. “This is scary and it’s everywhere now. When officers are in the field and they experience a drug situation, they will be equipped with a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kit…If there are indications of Fentanyl at a scene, our officers will deploy their PPE, including the Tyvek suit. Two little milligrams, and there are about 1,000 milligrams in a packet of sugar – two milligrams of Fentanyl will kill you.”
The new protocol comes as Officers Luis Teraza, Gilberto Vargas and Deryn Deirio became exposed to Fentanyl last Friday afternoon and had to be rushed to the hospital later feeling the effects of the drug.
The situation began when they were called to a mundane motor vehicle accident. However, it wasn’t an accident, but rather three men were passed and overdosing on opiates in the car.
Officers put the car in gear to move it out of the way, and some Fentanyl residue from a cigarette box contaminated them.
The men in the car were revived, with two of them requiring 10 shots of Narcan to be revived.
Shortly after, the officers were taken to the hospital. They were released, though, and returned to work on Saturday.
Kyes said Sgt. Joe Bevere, he believes, was also exposed during an arrest on June 29 where heroin was involved and was believed to be cut with Fentanyl.
“To the best of our knowledge, that was our first experience with our officers being exposed,” Kyes said. “This is kind of our first rodeo with this…We’re trying to maintain a balance of overkill and officers being safe.”
The PPE kits include large, heavy rubber gloves, N-95/N-100 respirators, eye goggles and Tyvek suits complete with hoods and booties. The kits are being put in each cruiser, given to each officer and stockpiled for future use. They are disposable.
In the event that drugs or heroin powder is present at a scene, officers will deploy the PPE and call the Fire Department to set up a Haz-Mat situation. Firefighters in Haz-Mat suits will then collect the evidence and clean up the scene.