Law enforcement agencies across the country are seeing a frightening trend in the war on drugs, but this time it has to do with their own safety.
Police officers who've come into contact with meth labs are getting sick and some are even dying. ews on 6 reporter Jennifer Loren talks with local police to see if they're facing the same problems.
Tulsa Police have a mobile meth lab clean-up unit that's available to any officer any time. Tulsa Police Sgt. Harold Adair: "Almost everything in here has to do with our protection." It's equipped with the standard amount of equipment to keep lab investigators safe, but because of the expense, standard is minimal in Tulsa. "This is, I won't say low bid, but this is what we could afford. This is what we had a grant to get."
Sgt. Adair says the very most important devices in this entire truck are air monitoring devices. What they do is protect officers from any harmful chemicals or gases that might be inside the areas they're about to enter.
Unfortunately, most of the officers who find meth labs aren't equipped with the devices, like Sapulpa Police officer Jim Madden. He was overcome by meth lab fumes when they shot out of the air vents in a trailer he was in. "You were constantly coughing, didn't feel like you were getting enough oxygen into your system. Your vision was going in and out." That exposure sent him to the hospital, the worst of many exposures he's encountered. "We're going into houses that we don't know there's a meth lab there many times "
That is something Officer Madden says will haunt him and his family for the rest of his life. "It worries you that your family and everything may be exposed to the problem and they shouldn't be because this is my line of work.â€
There is some good news, the officers we talked to say they're not seeing as many meth labs as they used.