2 officers exposed to 'unknown substance' during traffic stops
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Two Cincinnati Police officers became sick and were taken to the hospital after they came into contact with an unknown substance during separate traffic stops Wednesday, the police union president said.
Authorities suspect the substance have been the deadly carfentanil or fentanyl, according to Sgt. Dan Hils, president of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Both officers are veterans, Hils said. Their names were not released.
They were "dizzy, lightheaded," he said. "They were feeling the effects of an opiate."
The officers were expected to be OK and released from the hospital Wednesday night.
They became sick on the job amid a huge uptick in overdose calls Wednesday in District 1, including two fatalities, according to police spokesman Sgt. Eric Franz.
That outraged Hils, who called on county leaders to do more to try to curtail the opioid epidemic.
"We've got enough ways that we can lose a police officer, we don't need this way, too," he told reporters gathered in the hospital parking lot.
"Let's find a place for these dealers, let's find a place for these users and let's get 'em off the street because right now there's a deadly mixture going on out there and there's nobody doing anything about it. We have a crisis in Hamilton County. We have users of fentanyl and heroin and carfentanil's finding its way in here and it's deadly."
Neither officer required use of Narcan, he said.
One of them was conducting a stop at the corner of Linn and Liberty Street about 5:20 p.m. when a K-9 unit arrived as backup.
The K-9 and his handler recovered suspected opioids from the vehicle.
Then they returned to police academy, according to Franz., but reported feeling ill a short time later, about 6 p.m.
The officer was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and the K-9 was taken to a veterinarian as precaution., he said.
The second incident unfolded minutes later back at District 1 headquarters.
Another officer made multiple arrests for drugs in Over-the-Rhine, Franz said.
The officer returned to District 1 to tag the property he had just seized as evidence when he reported feeling sick around 6:15 p.m.
He also was taken to UCMC.
"Two more officers exposed to opiates at two separate incidents, but there is something that I will remember more," Hils posted on Support the Blue in Cincy Facebook page.
"The stories of the multiple overdoses that District (1) had today, including a death. There is still something I will remember more.
"I was shown a still shot from a surveillance camera. A man and a woman are in the picture obviously shooting up while in an alley in District (1). Sitting with them is a (3-or 4-year-old) child. District (1) looked for this "mom" and child all day without success.
"So you say doing heroin is a victimless crime, yeah right. Go ask this little boy sitting in a garbage and urine filled alley about that!"
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